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I have found the Recipe for something called the Staff of Herding. Upon closer inspection it does a measly 3.5 damage per second, but the ingredients to craft it (which include Wirt's Bell, a 100,000 gold investment) are extremely expensive. Is it possible that this staff is for a secret level? Is it just achievement fodder?

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The Staff of Herding is indeed the means by which one can gain access to the Secret Cow Level. Good luck finding the other ingredients! –  Raven Dreamer May 16 '12 at 18:41
    
It's part of the answer to the question How can I reach the secret level in Diablo III? –  agent86 May 17 '12 at 15:12

3 Answers 3

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The Staff of Herding, and its respective upgrades the Nightmarish, Hellish, and Infernal Staff of Herding, are used to access the 'Secret Cow Level' in Diablo III dubbed Whimsyshire. Each individual form of the Staff is used to access the SCL in its respective difficulty.

  • Normal Difficulty: Staff of Herding
  • Nightmare Difficulty: Nightmarish Staff of Herding
  • Hell Difficulty: Hellish Staff of Herding
  • Inferno Difficulty: Infernal Staff of Herding

The Normal staff is obtained by crafting. You will need 50k gold, Black Mushroom, Leoric's Shinbone, Liquid Rainbow, Wirt's Bell, and a Gibbering Gemstone, as well as the plans to make it, which randomly drop off of Izual in the Normal Difficulty (The plans, not the other items). Note, that after defeating Izual in the harder difficulties, the plans may be bought from Gorell who is located within Bastion's Keep Stronghold.

The upgraded staves are crafted using the original staff (or whatever last upgrade applies) and additional gold, as well as the recepie, also obtained from Gorell.

  • Nightmarish 200k gold
  • Hellish 500k gold
  • Infernal 1 MILLION GOLD (HOLY $@@T!!)

Once the staff is complete take The Old Ruins waypoint (Act I) and head west down Old Tristram Road. Hug the south wall. There should be a Skeletal Corpse and a "rift" in one of the crevices in the ground. If you have the Staff, the Ghost of the Cow King will appear with a quest above his head.

Sources:

http://diablo.wikia.com/wiki/Staff_of_Herding

http://www.diablowiki.net/Staff_of_Herding

http://www.diablowiki.net/Nightmarish_Staff_of_Herding

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5152408516

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When you craft the staff, you must find the Cow King carcass on the Old Tristram road. The ghost of the Cow King will show up and grant you with portal to the Whimsyshire. What is there? ...madness :D

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It is very widely speculated that this item and the related Hellish Staff of Herding and Infernal Staff of Herding are related to accessing the secret "Cow" level.

While nearly everyone is certain of this at present it is not clear how to use it to access the area.

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