Update (9th September): This article has been rewritten to include more details!
If you were wondering whether there is a secret level in Diablo 3, then we have the answer. Players have recently discovered the Diablo 3 Secret Pony Level. That's right, in Diablo 3 it's called pony level and not cow level like in the previous games, however to keep with the original theme you are greeted by a talking cow when first unlocking the level.
The secret pony level is called Whimsyshire, and the key to unlocking it is an item called the Staff of Herding. This item is crafted by the Blacksmith for 5 rare items. Here is what you need and how to get them:
- Black Mushroom - This item spawns rarely in one of the rooms on the first level of the Cathedral. Remember the post we wrote during the beta about the Diablo 3 Black Mushroom? Well we finally found its use.
- Wirt's Cowbell - You can get this item from the Act 2 vendor named Squirt the Peddler for 100,000 gold. Wirt was a young salesman in Diablo 1 that suffered an untimely death at the hands of the Fallen, but has left his mark in all Diablo games so far. In Diablo 2 his leg is used to access the secret cow level. This is the only item that is guaranteed to appear in every session.
- Liquid Rainbow - You can get this item from the an event in the Dahlgur Oasis (Act 2). This event is not guaranteed to appear in every session. If it spawns, you will find an NPC named Zaven the Alchemist being attacked by a pack of ghosts. After you dispatch them, Zaven will up a place called Mysterious Cave, which you must explore in order to find a chest called (not surprisingly) Mysterious Chest.
- Gibbering Gemstone - Drops from Chiltara, a mob found in the Caverns of Frost in Act 3. The mob is random so it might not spawn the fist time, if so just exit and go in again.
- Leoric's Shinbone - Found in Leoric's Manor by searching the fireplace. This fireplace object that gives the item is not guaranteed to spawn in every session, but if it does you always get the item from it.
- Plan: Staff of Herding - The final recipe to mold all the items together. This item randomly drops from Izual and Diablo in Act 4.
Note: As of patch 1.0.3 all of the materials needed to make the Staff of Herding along with the staff itself are now Legendary. Not 100% about this but I think Magic Find will help you get the materials faster.
- The item quality of all components needed to craft the Staff of Herding, as well as the Staff of Herding itself, have been changed from Common to Legendary (i.e. their item names will appear orange in color)
- The Staff of Herding can no longer be salvaged or dropped
After you get all of the above, head to Haedrig the Blacksmith and teach him the recipe by opening up his interface and right-clicking on the recipe. You will them use all of the above components along with 50,000 gold to get your normal Staff of Herding. Notice how I mentioned normal? This is because the recipe dropped by Izual and Diablo can only be used to make the normal version, which as you can guess, will allow you to access Whimsyshire on Normal difficulty. If you want to access it on Nightmare, Hell, or Inferno, you will have to upgrade the staff. Don't worry, you don't have to get all of the items again, but you do need to shell out a lot of gold.
What you need to do is move to the chosen difficulty, then keep playing until you reach the quest to kill Diablo (called Prime Evil). Now you need to teleport back to Bastion's Keep and talk to the merchant named Gorell the Quartermaster, who will have the new recipe for you.
Note: You cannot "skip" a tier. The normal version upgrades to the nightmare version, the nightmare version upgrades to the hell version, and the hell version upgrades to the inferno version.
Here is how much each difficulty costs:
- Nightmare - Recipe: 20,000, Crafting: 200,000, Total Cost: 220,000
- Hell - Recipe: 50,000, Crafting: 500,000, Total Cost: 550,000
- Inferno - Recipe: 100,000, Crafting: 1,000,000, Total Cost: 1,100,000
While all of the materials can be gotten from all of the difficulties, one would be smart to get them in normal difficulty so that they don't have to back track to upgrade the staff.
Note: An upgrade staff can be used to access its difficulty as well as any previous difficulty. Thus the Inferno Staff of Herding can be used to access Whimsyshire on all difficulties.
Once you have the staff, getting into Whimsyshire is a trivial task. What you need to do is start any Act 1 quest after The Legacy of Cain, then use the The Old Ruins waypoint. From here move west through the Old Tristram Road and follow the map below until you reach an area that has a skeleton resembling a cow along with a "rift" in one of the crevices.
Here is what it looks like:
If you come here holding the staff the Ghost of the Cow King will greet you and give you access to the secret level!
Note: If you are playing in multiplayer and one of the party members has the Staff of Herding, anyone in the party can access Whimsyshire.
Whimsyshire is a nice change from the usual dark-theme of Diablo. The monsters you encounter here consist of ponies, pink bears, and flowers, while chests are smiling clouds. Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds has nothing on this level! And if you think it ends there, check this out:
A Legendary dagger called The Horadric Hamburger can drop here! isn't that great?
Hope you found this article useful. As a bonus, check out these videos:
Talk about trippy!
This article was written thanks to information from Diablo 3 Inferno Codex.