Does anyone know how was the cow level discovered? I don't think the instructions were in the game guide. Was it hinted through either the game or the lore of Diablo 2? How did people figure out that you had to use a Tome of Town Portal and Wirt's PegLeg in the Horadric cube?
closed as off-topic by Frank, Ender, MBraedley, StrixVaria♦, Fluttershy Aug 26 '13 at 21:02
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It was a rumor since the first Diablo. When Diablo II was released, Blizzard gave a screenshot of the Cow Level, hinting at its existence.
From there, people managed to figure out how to use The Horadric Cube to create the portal to the Cow Level simply by trial and error it would seem.
Diablo 2 was released June 30, 2000, and there is a post detailing the recipe for the Secret Cow Level created as early as July 4, 2000 here. That said, it doesn't look like it took players too long to discover it.
Straight from Blizzard:
The History of the Secret Cow Level