Diablo 3 Season 25 kicks off this week

A still from Diablo 3's Reaper of Souls expansion

You’re getting more Diablo content to sink your teeth into this week. Blizzard confirms in a post on Diablo 3‘s forums that Season 25 kicks off on December 10 at 5pm local time across all regions. That’ll be shortly after the next Diablo 3 update, so prepare for a download.

The big new addition of this season is a new type of socketable item called Soul Shards. You’ve got seven unique types of Soul Shard that give you demonic new powers. If you think they look familiar at all, it’s because the Lords of Hell provide their influence. Breaking that down even further, you’re getting three Prime Evil Soul Shards that can be slotted into helms and four Lesser Evil Soul Shards that can be equipped into weapons. You can only use one of each Soul Shard simultaneously, though you can upgrade each of them three times using a new seasonal-exclusive consumable called the Hellforge Ember.

So how do you get ’em? Soul Shards and Hellforge Embers can drop from anywhere in Sanctuary, really, but you’ll want to be besting bosses for a higher chance at snagging Soul Shards. Happy grinding, folks.

Blizzard has also clarified that Soul Shards can’t be traded, though they can be salvaged and utilised in Caldesann’s Despair. You can only get them in seasonal play, too, so they won’t transfer to your non-seasonal character when the season wraps up.

Season 25 is also reintroducing cosmetic rewards from Season 13. If you weren’t around for that, you can get the helm and shoulder slots of the Conqueror set, portraits themed around Imperious, and a rather gory-looking bear. Courtesy of Haedrig’s Gift, you’re also getting a new class set for completing specific chapters in the season journey.

You’ve also got a slew of balance tweaks, such as item changes for Witch Doctors and Demon Hunters. If you’d like to see the patch notes in full, you can find them here.

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Activision Blizzard is facing a lawsuit filed in July by the state of California (since expanded for QA and customer service contractors) alleging years of discrimination and harassment. Since then, CEO Bobby Kotick has called the company’s initial response “tone deaf”, employees have staged a walkout, Blizzard president J Allen Brack has left, and the ABK Workers Alliance has demanded change at the company. The lawsuit is ongoing; follow the latest developments here.

In September, an agency of the US federal government opened an investigation into Activision Blizzard’s response to sexual misconduct and discrimination complaints from its employees, as part of which Kotick has reportedly been subpoenaed. The company is also facing a separate unfair labour practice suit alleging “worker intimidation and union busting” filed by a workers’ union, also in September. In another, separate development, Activision Blizzard reached an agreement with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission “to settle claims and to further strengthen policies and programs to prevent harassment and discrimination”. In a subsequent letter to employees, the company has announced an end to forced arbitration, a $250 million initiative to improve diversity, and a major pay cut for Kotick.

A new report published this November now alleges Bobby Kotick knew about and suppressed reports of sexual misconduct. Kotick has responded with an official statement saying the Wall Street Journal’s article “paints an inaccurate and misleading view of our company, of me personally, and my leadership.” In reply, Activision Blizzard’s board of directors declared it “remains confident” in Kotick’s leadership.

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