It was announced at BlizzCon in November that, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Diablo (which came out on New Year’s Eve, 1996), Blizzard would remake it within Diablo 3, and add various special content to all of its other games. All of that is now happening, with the Anniversary event now live in World of Warcraft. A new video has also gone up on the Diablo YouTube channel, with more details about how the remake within Diablo 3 will go down.
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The biggest of the Anniversary celebrations is probably in Azeroth. If you enter World of Warcraft today, you’ll find that – contrary to Blizzard’s many previous denials – there is in fact a cow level. The Secret Cow Level contains several level 100+ enemies, including the Diabolic Bovine, Diabolic Tauren, and the Cow King himself, who drops special loot when killed. This includes a Scroll of Town Portal and a Twelve-String Guitar, which, if obtained, will award the ‘Diablo’s 20th Anniversary’ achievement.
To get to the Secret Cow Level, you’ll need to kill the Treasure Goblin which can now spawn in the Dalaran sewers, at the end of instances, and various other locations. Full details can be found at MMO Champion.
Blizzard’s other games are celebrating Diablo’s anniversary with lesser content. Specifically, you can get Diablo-themed sprays and a player icon in Overwatch; a new portrait in Heroes of the Storm for its ‘High Heavens brawl’; a Lord of Terror worker portrait for StarCraft II; and a hooded stranger comes to Hearthstone in a Diablo-themed Tavern Brawl.
But of course, the biggest event of all is reserved for Diablo’s descendent, Diablo 3. Patch 2.4.3, also called the Anniversary patch, will add the whole of the original Diablo game in the form of a time-limited event called The Darkening of Tristram. All 16 levels of Diablo’s defiled cathedral will be recreated using Diablo 3’s assets, but Blizzard wanted to go further to really capture the look and feel of the 1996 classic. The remade dungeon will thus have a pixelated visual filter, a fixed isometric camera, tinnier sounds, stiffer animations and no running.
The Anniversary patch doesn’t have a release date yet, but Blizzard say it’s “right around the corner”. Speculation on YouTube suggests it could land as soon as Friday, since that’s when the next season starts and the patch does include some gameplay changes. Greater Rift and some items are getting tweaked, some quality of life changes are incoming (such as the ability to kill enemies mid-leap), and a new vendor, Miriam, will handle dying your clothes. You can check this post on the Diablo forums for a full overview of patch 2.4.3.
The Darkening of Tristram will end with January, but there’s a chance it could return on an annual basis.