“The Cow level is a lie,” taunts the in-game hint on a loading screen in Diablo 3, the-cake-is-a-lie-style.
That line is a lie.
The legendary cow level, famous in Diablo 2, is a novelty, something funny and something useful in the game. It had fairly good drop rates, and there was a chance to get an exclusive cow set. This was done by clearing all Acts in a given difficulty, grabbing Wirt’s Leg from Tristram, and then fusing it with a Town of Scroll Portal book in the Horadric Cube. The level had great monster density so it was a popular farming spot sometimes.
For nearly two years, since the third game came out, fans have been missing the cow level. Blizzard either teased or denied, and dataminers couldn’t find anything. Whimsyshire was the cow level for the longest time, until Nephalem Rifts came along.
I already knew about it. The secret cow level existed as a random Rift, which anybody can get without a warning or taking specific action. The cow boss was the only one I was missing. And there it happened; a clan member opened a second Rift in my game and it turned out to be it! (screenshot above).
It’s not as special as the D2 level, however, the Rift Guardian is unique to it, and you won’t get the same one in any other Rift. Therefore, he’s necessary to get an achievement for beating all the Rift Guardians.
Has anyone noticed how repetitive the cave structure is? Look at it… it’s just made of the same repeating blocks. I remember a blue post when someone was whining about the quality of the Rifts, and a concerned community manager asking “what aspects of Rifts are unappealing to you? the atmosphere? the kind of level?” I do admit that some Rifts are really gloomy and so dark that you can’t see monsters approaching, but the aesthetic of these dungeons is not important — monster density is. The biggest problem with the Rift I had above, pictured, is not its architecture, but the scarcity of monsters. Blizzard could definitely crank it up. Thankfully, there are some Rifts that usually have great monster density, like Westmarch, but Briartown Cemetery has the best. In that area, I often fight against three elite packs and get quite a few legendaries. The bad effect of this inequality is that whenever you don’t get the Cemetery, you’re instantly let down.
And hey, it turns out the Legendary Buff from the Diablo 3 anniversary is going to be permanent. What can I say? As expected. Going back to the drop rates we had before the buff would just result in a ton of whining.