After slaying 666 cows, Diablo 4 player makes major breakthrough in the hunt for the secret cow level

Holstein-Friesian cow, close-up
(Image credit: Dag Sundberg / Getty)

Update: The diligent folks in the Not Finding A Cow Level Discord server have discovered that the 666,666 second timer seems to be unrelated to collecting the relics. They also found only your first relic drop requires 666 cows, subsequent ones can drop at any point. I've updated the story below to reflect these new details.

Original story: The Oxen Gods are finally pleased. After four months with no news, a Diablo 4 player has made a major discovery in the hunt for its supposedly non-existent secret cow level.

"Uh hey, so I just got the Musty Tome from a cow after killing about 666 of them (it was hard to count)," a user who goes by Grampajoe wrote in the Not Finding A Cow Level Discord server last night. "The cow died with a red curse effect and the tome dropped from it."

A few minutes later, Grampajoe shared a video in which they find an item that was previously thought to be unattainable. The Musty Tome, along with the Bloody Wooden Shard and the Metallic Fragment, are references to old Diablo items, and are suspected to be involved in unlocking a secret cow level like the ones found in Diablo 2 and 3.

In July, Blizzard removed a quest from the game's files that had you use the relics to perform a cleansing ritual for the "The Oxen Gods". It was the existence of that quest that really ignited the hunt for the secret level, despite Blizzard saying that there was no secret level. The removal of the quest might've been taken to mean there really was no cow level, but in the last 24 hours, players have found all three relics off of Grampajoe's discovery and performed the ritual. Now they're trying to figure out what to do with a cellar full of cows, dead bodies, and a single stamina potion.

Here's what we know so far:

  • Killing 666 cows on one character will cause the final one to drop a relic based on your location
  • After your first relic drop, subsequent relics seem to drop randomly
  • You'll be locked out from finding another relic for 666,666 seconds, or 7.7 days
  • Relics can be dropped and picked up by other players
  • Using all three at the Ox statues in Ked Bardu drops a strange key for the Forlorn Hovel
  • Killing all the cows in the Forlorn Hovel rewards you with a stamina potion (which gives you a five minute buff) 

When you kill the Cow King in Diablo 2's cow level, he drops eight stamina potions as a funny nod to their milky color. The people in the Not Finding A Cow Level Discord have already tried drinking eight of them at once—among other things—to no avail.

Ideas are being thrown around by the minute, including using the potions during a throwback sequence in the campaign or counting the spots on the cellar cows and killing them in a specific order. Streamers, like Echohack, Raxxanterax, and AnnacakeLIVE, are on it now, too, searching for answers with the help of their viewers. These cows can't hide for long.

Unless, of course, the secret cow level isn't actually in Diablo 4 yet. The only thing Blizzard has said about it is that it doesn't exist, and neither the relics nor the Forlorn Hovel were mentioned in the most recent patch notes. Every clue so far has been found entirely by dataminers sifting through the files and players trying silly things like killing 666 cows. The next step might not show up until a future patch.

But just like last time, people won't stop looking until Sanctuary's cows have gone extinct.

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.