Diablo 4 Secret Cow Level Guide (2024)

The long-rumored Secret Cow Level seems to have been enabled for Diablo IV Season 2. We’ll break down all of the discovered steps so you can follow and access the level for yourself!

Key Locations and Hints to the Secret Cow Level

Before we jump in, we first have to cover the necessary details and everything that led to the initial discovery.

The fountain in Ked Bardu is home to the only in-game hints available. These hints are the lone interactable statue, titled Oxen God of the East, as well as the Old Tablet.

The Oxen God of the East

The Oxen God of the East statue is one of a set of four almost identical statues that surround the fountain. However, unlike the other three, it is the only one we can interact with initially.

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When we do interact with it, we get the following lore message:
“The Oxen Gods stand as guardians to this sacred fountain. it is said that one who presents a worthy offering cleansed in these waters may gain their blessing.”

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This hints at items needing to be dropped in the water. How would we get those? The Old Tablet has our answer.

With East being the only direction enabled, it can also be assumed that this hints at the drop locations of the relic as well. As the direction of each drop region vaguely lines up with the areas we’ll need to find them.

The Old Tablet

This is a small interactable tablet found in the water of the fountain. Similarly to the Oxen God of the East, it can be interacted with.

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Upon interacting with it, we get another incomplete lore message which reads:
“The crumbling stone has a few discernable words: “… spill their blood to be deemed worthy…”

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This hints that we need to spill blood, but whose, what, why or how much is needed? Sadly the game doesn’t tell us this, but it’s pretty reasonable to assume it’s cows, this is the Secret Cow Level of course.

The Three Relics

While datamining is very much an external source of information, it did discover and work out most of the steps for this hidden quest. The key discoveries they made were the Three Relics, where they drop, and the location of the Forlorn Hovel, referred to as the Secret Cellar. But we’ll get into most of that later.

The Three Relics themselves are references to Diablo 2’s Secret Cow Level, consisting of a Bloody Wooden Shard, an Intricate Metallic Fragment, and the Musty Tome.

The Bloody Wooden Shard is, or was, Wirt’s Leg. Its description reads:
“A worn bloodstained chunk of wood with tattered leather straps. The Letter “W” has been crudely carved on one side.

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The Intricate Metallic Fragment is the Hordric Cube, or a part of it at least. Its description reads:
“A metallic fragment of unknown origin, still humming with magical energies. It appears to be part of some ancient device.”

Finally, we have the Musty Tome, a worn-out Tome of Town Portal. Its description reads:
“The tattered leather binding of an old tome. The deep blue dye has faded with age, and all of the pages have been torn out.”

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How to Access the Secret Cow Level in Diablo 4

The quest breaks down into three steps, finding the relics, cleansing the relics to offer them, and entering the Forlorn Hovel.

Finding the Relics

The Relics themselves are Quest Items that drop from Cows. There is one important things to note here. That is that there is a required (and hidden) number of cows that need to be defeated, which is a per-player counter that counts up to 666, granting a guaranteed relic drop.

The Cow Counter is global, meaning that any cow will increase the counter. This also includes cows defeated by other players or enemies, so long as they’re within a small range. However, the region where you defeat the 666th cow will determine which relic drops.

This means you can farm the bulk of them in a quick farm spot before moving to collect the relic if you don’t want to spend the time hunting in that specific region.

It has been found that once this 666 count has been reached, the relics can all drop on one character. However, they become RNG. The drop rate seems to be very low, likely around 1% or less, as some have gotten lucky and gotten a second relic in just 100 cows, while others have farmed thousands to no avail.

This means you can luck into all three drops if you want to grind it out. It can still often be faster to just make an alt character for another guaranteed drop without the wait.

There’s also a 666,666 second timer (~7 days, 17 hours), which resets the counter for a guaranteed drop on any given character. This timer starts from the first cow you defeat. So be careful to no spread out your farming time too much or you may not reach the required count.

Note: This reset timer seems to be bugged currently, and while it will reset the counter, another guaranteed relic will not be given.

We have a segment later in the guide that shares recommended cow farming routes you can take to speed up the process.

Datamining also reveals to us which relics drop where. This means we knew for certain that:

  • The Bloody Wooden Shard drops in Kehjistan or Hawezar.
  • The Intricate Metallic Fragment drops in Dry Steppes.
  • The Musty Tome drops in Scosglen or Fractured Peaks.

However, the Relics will drop around the person getting the 666th cow defeated. These do drop as a global drop, meaning others can pick them up if you let them. This also means you can drop trade to coordinate quicker access.

Cleaning and Offering the Relics

Once all three Relics are collected, we’re to take them back to the Ked Bardu Fountain to cleanse them. Cleaning them is as simple as dropping them in the pool briefly, before picking them up again. As you do each of the three remaining Oxen Gods (North, West, and South) will become intractable.

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Upon interacting with each statue, you’ll give up one of the relics and see a burst of white energy above it. Once all three relics are cleansed and have been offered, you’ll Drop the Strange Key, the next piece of the puzzle.

The Strange Key

The Strange Key offers no real hint or direction as to where to take it. Its description and flavor text simply read:
“A large metal key. Though it appears ordinary, you feel that it has some kind of power. Who knows what this could unlock?”

Having this grants you access to the Forlorn Hovel, found on the very eastern tip of Socsglen. Yes, the same area that looks like a cow’s head. You’ll need to head there where you’ll be able to open the Cellar, losing the Strange Key in the process.

However, if you lose the Strange Key before opening the Hovel, you’ll need to start the process over! Be sure to get it done early so you don’t accidentally drop or otherwise lose this key!

So far, the Forlorn Hovel appears to be permanently open and unlocked for the player using the key. If you’re going with a party, however, they’ll need to teleport in if they haven;t opened the Forlorn Hovel themselves.

The Forlorn Hovel

Once you have access to the Forlorn Hovel, you can head inside and what awaits you is more cows. But these strange cows seem to ignore you, instead looking at the Villagers they seem to have killed that are strewn about the cellar.

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Once you defeat all of the cows in the Forlorn Hovel, the final one will drop a Stamina Potion. This is yet another reference to Diablo 2’s Secret Cow Level where the Cow King, the boss of said Secret Cow Level, frequently dropped these. The assumed joke is that Stamina Potions are white and look like milk.

After exiting the Hovel, (possibly just unlocking it) the first cow you defeat will drop a new relic. This is assumed to be a bug, but worth noting for now.

The Stamina Potion

Finally, we come to the Stamina Potion, our Consumable “reward”. Its description and flavor text read:
“What little remains inside of the vial as long since desiccated into powder. The thought of consuming this turns your stomach.”

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Unlike the previous item, this isn’t a Quest Item, it’s a Consumable. This makes it fully tradeable, in addition to being usable. This means it is very easy to trade directly, without having to drop them.

What does consuming it actually do? As far as it’s currently known, it applies a 5% Movement Speed buff that appears to last approximately 5 minutes. If there’s anything special to this buff beyond this, it is not currently known.

Thankfully, once you’ve opened the Forlorn Hovel it’s open permanently. This means you can simply reset your dungeons and you’ll be able to stockpile them very quickly.

What’s Next

If the Stamina Potion triggers something special, that has yet to be discovered. For the time being, obtaining the Stamina Potion appears to complete the current quest chain that we know of.

This is not to say there’s no grand conclusion, just that currently the Stamina Potion is both the furthest this has gotten and seems to be the end of this part of the quest. While it can be a little disheartening, just know that this is likely not the final step and we may end up with a “proper” Secret Cow Level and see the Cow King once more.

Should more information come about or more steps be found, this guide will be kept up-to-date.

Cow Farming Routes

So heaps of cows need to perish, what’s the best way to take ’em out? Here are a few of the routes that I and others used to reach our 666 cows. We’ll include images with the cows and route marked.

Otherwise, Sorcerers are a great option for their Mobility with Teleport and the Teleport Enchantment. Since there are also enemies here, any decent AoE skill will makes it quicker to clear both cows and enemies alike.

The “shmiga” Reset Method

This method of resetting comes courtesy of shimga on Discord. It’s a trick for quickly swapping World Tiers as you log out, increasing the odds you’ll find more cows with each reset. Here are the steps to set this up:

  1. Head to your route or location of choice.
  2. Clear your route or location.
  3. Log out after completion, ensuring your not in combat (instant logout option)
  4. Swap your World Tier.
  5. Log back in.
  6. Complete your Route in reverse order. (if not a loop already)
  7. Each Logout will now swap between the two World Tiers used.

This method makes nearly every route better, you can even break some route down in to smaller chunk for faster farming. Just keep in mind that if the area you farm is contested on either of your world tiers, it may slow down your cow slaughtering.

it’s exceptionally good for powering an alt character to 666 kills quickly, but also assists with RNG farming as well.

Keep in mind you must log out while not in combat with the instant logout option. If you don’t you’ll need to prefer the steps again to set it back up!

Farobru Route

The most effective method so far to quickly farm cows is to farm the cows in and around Farobru in the Dry Steppes.

  1. Exit Farobru on the South Side through main exit.
  2. Head to the small farm directly south. (1-3 cows)
  3. Further south is another farm (1-3 cows)
  4. Head Northwest to the larger farm. (1-3 cows)
  5. Head North to the last farm. (1-3 cows)
  6. Optional: Fenced in cows near town. (2 cows)
  7. Go to town and log out to Character Select and Reset.
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Rogues definitely get the most value out of this route, as they have high mobility and their Rain of Arrows can consistently take out the fenced in cows. We can recommend our Imbuement Rogue Build as a solid build that has access to the skill.

This quick route can net up to a maximum of 14 cows per trip (12 if you can’t reach the ones near the town) and is very quick to reset, usually taking less than 30 seconds overall. To get the extra 2 cows, you’ll need a skill that can ignore walls or hope that they’re close enough to the fence to land the Dismount skill on them.

Cerrigar Route

This route has you going to many of the Scosglen farms, including a mid-route TP to Cerrigar.

  1. Exit Cerrigar from the southeast gate.
  2. Head north to the small farm. (2-6 cows)
  3. Teleport to Cerrigar. (or use mount to avoid load screen)
  4. Exit via southwest exit.
  5. Head to small farms west of Cerrigar. (2-6 cows)
  6. Head Northeast to the large farm. (1-3 cows)
  7. Head Southwest to the cow tucked into the narrow passage. (1-3 cows)
  8. Go to town and log out to Character Select and Reset.
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This route can net you up to 18 cows, but has high variance. This route usually take about 1-2 minutes to complete but doesn’t have you logging out as frequently as the Farobru Route.

Jirandai Route

This works best with the shmiga Reset Method, as the time to and from town can otherwise slow down the farm. However, we’ve marked it for those that wish to do it without.

  1. Leave from Jirandai and head to the southern most farm in the location shown.
  2. Clear the farm (1-3 cows)
  3. Clear the eastern most farm (1-3 cows)
  4. Clear the northernmost farm (1-3 cows)
  5. TP to Jirandai to reset normally or use the reset method from above from final camp.
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In total this farm will take around a minute if resetting normally, or less than 30 seconds with the shmiga Reset Method and net up to 9 cow per rotation.

This Route is great for Necromancer builds that use Bone Storm, like our Blood Lance Lancer Necromancer. The close grouping of farms can allow you to use Bone Storm and quickly take out all farms on horseback without needing to worry to much about missing a cow thanks to the AoE, just take care not to aggro enemies when you’re going to reset!

Zarbinzet Route 1

This method also works well with the shmiga Reset Method, or can be done normally, though the trips to and from town will slow it down.

  1. Leave from Zabinzet through the Southeast gate and head to the nearest farm.
  2. Clear the farm. (1-3 cows)
  3. Head West and clear the small farm. (1-3 cows)
  4. Head further West and clear the final farm. (1-3 cows)
  5. Return to Zarbinzet to reset normally, or use the reset method from above.
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This takes around a minute to complete normally, or less than 30 seconds with the shmiga Reset Method, netting up to 9 cows.

This route does have a lot of enemies near the cows, unlike the other routes. We recommend builds with strong AoE, like our Berserking Leap Barbarian or Blood Surge Necromancer builds, to quickly dispatch the cows and enemies at the same time.

Zarbinzet Route 2

This works as its own area for the shmiga Reset Method, or as an extension of the previous route. We’ll detail it as the extension here.

  1. Run Zarbinzet Route in reverse order, leaving from Southwest gate. (3-9 cows)
  2. Head East through the World Boss area to the first farm shown.
  3. Clear the farm. (1-3 cows)
  4. Head North and clean the small farm to the East (1-3 cows)
  5. Head west and clear the final farm (1-3 cows)
  6. Loop back to Zarbinzet to reset or use the reset method mentioned above.
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This adds another 9 potential cows and another minute or so to the first Zarbinzet route, totaling roughly 2 minute and up to 18 cows. Similarly, this can be reset with the shmiga method and be done in less than 1 minute. If you loop back to Zarbinzet, or the first farm, they can also reset without a relog making this a great no-reset farm.

Additional Credits

I’d like to thank PS5 player “grampajoe” for their effort and dedication to figuring out that the relic drops were enabled with the new season. Their testing led to the hunt being kicked into high gear.

I would also like to thank the folks at the “Diablo 4 – Not Finding a Cow Level” Discord for helping to make this guide possible. From all of the people who worked with the datamining side as well as those doing the boots-on-the-ground testing. Here’s to more discoveries and progress in the near future!

Diablo 4 Secret Cow Level Guide (2024)
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