A breakthrough in the hunt for Diablo 4's cow level has players racing to perform a secret cleansing ritual for the Oxen Gods

A Scottish Highland cow in Scotland
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Diablo 4's cow level isn't real according to Blizzard, but a group of players has discovered the existence of a ritual that they believe will lead to the fabled, supposedly non-existent level, and their evidence is convincing. The problem now is actually performing the ritual, which, if the level really doesn't exist, may be impossible. 

Cow-themed joke levels have been synonymous with the Diablo series after persistent rumors that one existed in the first game (it didn't). Since then, Blizzard snuck cow levels in Diablo 2, Diablo 3, and World of Warcraft.

According to Diablo general manager Rod Fergusson in an interview with Kinda Funny, Diablo 4 doesn't have a cow level because of its serious tone. But players have found a handful of strange items and locations in the game's files that suggest Fergusson's comment might not be totally true.

Everything hinges on a fountain surrounded by ox statues in the Ked Bardu location in Diablo 4. A message about cleansing offerings to "The Oxen Gods" appears when you click one of them. And now players are on the hunt to find items for the ritual.

Over on the D4 - Not Finding A Cow Level Discord server, which amusingly includes channel names like "secretcellar" and "all-cow-locations", there's a summary of the items players have found through datamining so far. The list includes the Metallic Fragment, the Bloody Wooden Shard and the Musty Tome. The Bloody Wooden Shard and the Musty Tome are both a reference to the Diablo 2 items used to access its cow level: Wirt's Leg and Tome of Town Portal.

(Image credit: Sylvus / Activision Blizzard)

Nobody has found the three ritual items in the game yet, but text found in the files suggests that they drop from a unique world event that can appear in different regions of the map. Other datamined info suggests that you'll be able to cleanse the items at the fountain and then be able to pick up a secret key. That key will open a secret cellar that houses a portal to the elusive cow level.

Despite having a vague outline for the unmarked cow level quest, players still haven't been able to find the world events mentioned in the files. World events happen in many locations around Diablo 4's open world map, making it hard to narrow down where to search.

"At the moment our focus is on Hawezar or Kehjistan to receive the first relic, however it is well known that the other two zones (Dry Steppes, Scosglen and Fractured Peaks) are also likely to drop relics two and three if we knew what the event was," one of the server's admins, Chef, wrote.

"I will primarily point out that this is not a very efficient method of finding which event we should run, but rather an extremely efficient method to determine which events we will be wasting our time grinding."

Elsewhere in the server, players have brought up that it's entirely possible none of the datamined info exists in the game yet, but that doesn't seem to have stopped everyone from continuing the search.

Associate Editor

Tyler has covered games, games culture, and hardware for over a decade before joining PC Gamer as Associate Editor. He's done in-depth reporting on communities and games as well as criticism for sites like Polygon, Wired, and Waypoint. He's interested in the weird and the fascinating when it comes to games, spending time probing for stories and talking to the people involved. Tyler loves sinking into games like Final Fantasy 14, Overwatch, and Dark Souls to see what makes them tick and pluck out the parts worth talking about. His goal is to talk about games the way they are: broken, beautiful, and bizarre.