The players hunting for Diablo 4's secret cow level have suffered a major setback, but you'd be a fool to think that's stopping them

Holstein-Friesian cow, close-up
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Diablo 4's latest patch has smashed the reset button on the search for the secret cow level.

The D4 - Not Finding A Cow Level Discord has been searching for a cow-themed joke level in Diablo 4, hoping that Blizzard snuck one in just like it did with Diablo 2 and Diablo 3.

The official word from Diablo general manager Rod Fergusson is that no, Diablo 4's cow level doesn't exist, but that hasn't stopped anyone on the Discord from unturning every stone and mutilated corpse looking for clues.

And neither has this week's patch 1.0.3, which removed code for a quest that involved a cleansing ritual for "The Oxen Gods". The quest steps were the framework for how the Discord community assumed you'd unlock the secret cow level. It involved collecting a handful of unique relic items to perform a cleansing ritual in Ked Bardu that would reward you with a key to unlock a secret cellar. Inside that cellar, players assumed, would be the portal to the cow level.

Many of the same clues remain, but the connective tissue that ties them together is now gone. Discord members have various theories on why the quest scripts were removed. Some think they were leftover from an earlier version of the game (perhaps there was a cow level that got scrapped or is coming in a future patch), while others believe they could still hint at something real.

(Image credit: Sylvus / Activision Blizzard)

"It is entirely possible that we have gotten nowhere in almost a month considering we are essentially restarting the search," one of the heads of the Discord, Chef, wrote yesterday. "Acknowledge this but bear in mind we all now know substantially more about not only the workings of this game, but the lore as well."

With the quest gone, the community has started studying similar secrets in World of Warcraft and Diablo lore for leads. But as the search goes wide again, Chef has reminded everyone that the hunt relies on volunteers and that you run the risk of overworking yourself if you chase loose hints. Because of this, Chef encourages everyone to remain skeptical and cognizant of the time spent on any single clue.

"The goal from here on out is to re-evaluate the secrets given to us, and use our breadth of knowledge of Diablo 4 to really dig into the nitty gritty of the lore and lore-based puzzles," Chef wrote.

Here's every remaining clue that may or may not have to do with the cow level:

  • The Ked Bardu fountain and its four ox statues 
  • The tablet in the fountain that is called "puzzle hint" in the game's files 
  • Three datamined relics that reference old Diablo items: the Bloody Wooden Shard, Musty Tome, and Metallic Fragment 
  • References to a Wishing Well quest, title, and related items in the game's files 

I'm still not entirely convinced the secret cow level exists yet, but it's fun to see people combing over every inch of Diablo 4 to make damn sure. And, as Chef points out, this search has inadvertently confirmed how certain things work in the game broadly, like how the Butcher can't spawn out in the open world despite what a Blizzard developer said previously. 

If you've got ideas or have actually found one of those relics, you can join the hunt in the Diablo 4 cow level Discord.

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.