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Diablo: Hellfire is an expansion to the original Diablo. It was subcontracted while Blizzard busied themselves with its sequel, Diablo II. Many fans who say the expansion is lackluster consider this to have been a disastrous decision. The game was published as part of the Diablo: Hellfire Bundle by Blizzard Entertainment in North America in 1998.
Diablo: Hellfire's storyline occurs as an aside to the main story arc of the original game. A sorcerer, while performing a ritual, unknowingly releases the demon Na-Krul upon the town of Tristram, but before it can completely escape, the sorcerer magically seals the doors. The player is later tasked with venturing into Na-Krul's lair and vanquishing it.
The expansion pack adds several enhancements to Diablo, including the Monk class, two new dungeon difficulty settings, additional quests, several extra game items (including oils which affect item statistics), new runes that can be placed as traps, a new page of spells, new affixes for weapons and armor, new shrines, new mini-boss enemy names, a noticeable boost to Diablo's strength and power, and a number of UI and interface improvements.
Diablo: Hellfire integrates into Diablo, and because of its design, its dungeons can be avoided entirely. In order to gain access to the dungeons, the player must speak with Lester the Farmer, who is north of Tristram, near the herd of cows. However, if the player speaks to Lester before reaching a certain point of the main Diablo quest, he will be hesitant to ask them to enter the new dungeons.
The rest of the expansion integrates more fully into the main adventure. Objects like oils, new weapons, rings and armor, and runes drop amid other more common kinds of items, and the new spellbooks, including books for two previously existing spells that did not have books, and scrolls are found in the same kinds of places. New shrines are found where shrines would normally be found. The new unique monsters, which appear as palette-swapped, but otherwise normal monsters with a unique name, also appear in the Diablo quest like any other. It should be noted, however, that there are almost no unique monsters found within Hellfire's exclusive dungeons. The Hellfire dungeons are populated with new enemies that do not appear in the main Diablo quest, however. The difficulty of Hellfire dungeon floors 1-8 mirror those of levels 9-16 of the main Diablo quest, requiring experienced characters to explore.
Some of the newer convenience features include the option to move more quickly around town using the "jog" toggle found in the options menu, a spell that highlights objects lying on the floor as though the cursor was placed over them, and a spell that teleports the player to the nearest staircase found on that level of the dungeon.
Diablo: Hellfire installs into its own directory independent of Diablo. Players are required to have the retail Diablo CD in order for the game to run. Instructions are available in the README file on how to convert Diablo characters into Diablo: Hellfire characters.
The Diablo: Hellfire storyline is not taken into account during Diablo II. It was not released as a part of the Diablo Battle Chest, but it did get released as part of the Diablo: Hellfire Bundle, published in 1998 by Blizzard Entertainment.
However, in Diablo II, Blizzard North later implemented insect caves and crypts that bear similarities to those in Diablo: Hellfire. A few of the convenience features introduced in Diablo: Hellfire were also added in Diablo II as fully-fledged functions, such as being able to run to cover ground more quickly, and being able to highlight items lying on the floor via button press, instead of by spells.
Two additional characters, the Bard and Barbarian, and two additional quests can be enabled with a special text-file edit in the Diablo: Hellfire installation directory.
As test characters, these warriors have new skills and attributes. The Bard can use two one-handed weapons, one in each hand. The Barbarian can hold certain two-handed weapons in one hand, and carry a shield in the other. They do not have unique character graphics developed for them, appearing in-game as the rogue and the warrior, respectively.
The hidden quests are the Theo quest and the cow quest. The cow quest appears first by turning Lester the Farmer, who allows the player to unlock the hive, into the "Complete Nut", who wears a cow suit. After giving the player a rune bomb to open the hive level, he will send the player off to recover his suit. Once the player returns the brown suit to him, he rewards them with the Bovine Plate. The cow quest was based on an internet joke that directed players to complete a series of silly objectives to unlock a secret cow quest.
The Theo quest is given by a little girl standing by a tree near Adria's shack. The player must kill the Hork Demon to retrieve Theo and acquire the reward. If this quest is not activated, the Hork Demon drops the amulet himself with no storyline.