In short this is Diablo II vastly enhanced with many new surprises, challenges and features! Diablo as it was meant to be!
This mod is focused towards group multiplayer in a manner of which a group of friends or players can start fresh new characters and fight through the forces of hell side by side, although there is a solo edition available.
As multiplayer is the prime focus here, Solo play in the sense of progressing onward is not recommended. Solo play is used mainly as a means of treasure hunting, catching up in experience or refining gear and skills... Those purely interested in solo play will find a huge obstacle in bosses, as they were designed mainly for multiplayer combat...
I recommend 3-6 players for this mod (1 player for solo eddition)
If you don't know many people that play Diablo, I recommend trying to find others who are trying to assemble groups on either the official Hell Unleashed forum or the battle.net forums. Or if you have no interest in multiplayer download the solo edition!
Multiplayer will function with TCP/IP, open battle.net, or the closed realm.
For anyone who doesn't know how to use TCP/IP, one player hosts the game, gives other players their IP address, and players connect using the "Join Game" button under Multiplayer TCP/IP.
To play on the Closed Realm select Gateway and choose "Arimyth Network" and connect, create an account and make sure you choose "Hell Unleashed" as the Realm.
You cannot connect to the official Battle.net servers with Hell Unleashed installed... If you wish to continue doing so it's best to copy Diablo II to another directory and install Hell Unleashed to one of them.
Difficulty has been increased greatly for normal, nightmare and hell, which will appeal toward new players as well as veteran players.
Character level range across all 3 difficulties is intended to be, normal 1-60, nightmare 60-80, hell 80-100 ... Experience gain, monster levels, dungeon levels and item levels have been adjusted accordingly.
Improved enemy AI
Many of the dungeons have "vastly" increased in size and altered to better compensate for multi-player adventures and also focused more towards going through a dungeon once rather then the same dungeon numerous times for additional experience and items. "Although your still welcome too"
Many existing skills and items have been re-balanced, some more effective, some less effective. In my opinion, much needed changes. These balancing changes have been based on constant community feedback over the numerous previous versions of Hell Unleashed to ensure the most balanced HU to date!
A few brand new class skills and many new monster and boss skills.
New optional side quests and rewards.
Many additional and altered music tracks including a slew of new dungeon musics as well as boss musics, each Act final boss has it's own unique boss music. The loudness of music has also been increased. The new music ranges from more intense fast paced tunes as well as the dark, traditional music, which greatly adds to the feel of Hell Unleashed.
Many new additional bosses and superunique monsters have been added, each new boss with their own unique vocal taunts; all bearing strategic elements having and different AI styles with numerous and new spells/skills, auras, abilities and counter attacks.
There are now a total of 47 bosses, not including superunique named monsters like Corpsefire, Rakanishu and Bishibosh.
The existing bosses have all been greatly improved with additional spells, abilities and counters of their own and all stronger, faster and more terrifying then ever, each with their own strengths, weaknesses and strategies. Each of the 47 bosses will provide you with an intense and challenging showdown, where death or retreat is harshly punished.
Numerous additional monster graphics/animations from Baldur's Gate II, Icewind Dale II and Planescape Torment curtosy of Infinitum. The majority of these graphics are used for most of the additional new bosses like the, Hellforge Dragon, Beholder, and the Chimera to name a small few.
If the bosses are not harmed in anyway or left idle for roughly 20 seconds they will recover and return to full HP, this is to prevent retreating, restocking, dying and resuming where the fight left off...
Now if you are wiped out or forced to retreat, expect the boss to be at full power when you return... To over come bosses you will need tactics and skill as traditional in most action-rpg's, not simply persistence and tediousness.
New area's have been added such as the Haunted Morgue in Act I, The Collapsed Escape Tunnel under the Harem in Act II, The Arcane Observatory (2nd part to the Sanctuary) and Izual's Isolated Purgatory (A hellish cave beneath the plains of despair) and a new and terrible Hell Only difficulty dungeon.
To name a small few. Many existing dungeons have also been altered!
Each act will feature a couple new area's which will house new surprises including many new superunique class monsters.
Some area's use expanded tilesets new graphics. The tower entrance of the Countess's keep for example uses a brand new tileset and the Arcane Observatory uses an expanded tileset!
Elite monsters have been added and randomly spawn in certain areas, they're similar to Champions but more powerful and most of them use new graphics, such as the Berserks, Wyrms, and Mariliths.
Adjusted character hp/mana growth and altered how stats effect these and other attributes. Characters also start with low base stats, but are given 60 stat points to allocate where they want at level 1, as well as a starting skill point.
Strength and Dexterity play a much larger role in damage bonus on weapons.
Stat requirements for weapons have been altered to reflect the stat(s) they depend on for their damage bonus.
Strength: Swords, Axes, Polearms, Maces, Hammers, Scepters, Staves
Dexterity: Bows, Xbows
Half str, half dex: Javelins, Throwing, Wands, Daggers, Claws, Spears
Repair costs have been reduced and repair runes have been added.
Shops and Gambling have been greatly improved offering better equipment in the later acts and offering nightmare and hell equipment in nightmare and hell difficulties, gems and runes are also sold in the shops, but very costly prices.
This will give gold more of a use them throwing it away gambling all the time.
Item drops for rare, unique and set items has been increased slightly and the treasure drop system has been revamped.
Bosses and superuniques now drop better items, most superunique monsters will drop yellow items, bosses will drop unique's and set items quite commonly for better boss rewards and to compensate for more players.
Inventory size, stash size and cube have been increased by 50%
Players start with Cube.
Quest requirements have been added to certain portals. "For example to enter Andariel's Chamber, the Countess quest must be completed" If you cannot enter a red portal, changes are you have failed to meet the quest requirement.
Durability of all weapons and armor has been doubled.
Throwing Weapons and Javelins spawn in stacks of 300 and can now have sockets.
All unique items and set items have had changes made to them
Magic and rare items have had their customization and properties improved.
Crafted items have all been revised and improved upon as well as new crafting sets for Topaz(Elemental), Skulls(Death) and Diamonds(Holy) and also higher level crafting recipes for exceptional and elite weapons and armor.
Many new unique items and new rare and magic properties
All official runewords enabled including the 1.11 runewords as well as numerous new and altered runewords!
Life or mana cannot be drained from any undead.
Many new cube recipes including the ability to add sockets to weapons and armor via new items simply called sockets, which spawn about the same frequency as gems do.
1 single socket + one magic item or non magic item = add's one socket to that item
2 single sockets + one rare item or crafted item = add's one socket to that item
1 dual socket + one magic item or non magic item = add's two socket to that item
2 dual sockets + one rare item or crafted item = add's two sockets to that item
You get the deal. Here are additional cube recipes below.
3 Single Sockets = Dual Socket
3 Dual Sockets = Triple Socket
3 Triple Socket = Quad Socket
3 Quad Socket = X Socket (Add's 1 socket to a unqiue or set item)
3 perfect gems will now make a starstone gem (Next level above perfect)
3 star stone will now make a moonstone gem
3 moonstones will now make the highest level of gem
Upgrading runes has also changed beyond a certain level of rune.
Mithril and Adamant's Glyph's have been added and can be used with weapons and armor.
Mithril Glyph + One magic item = new magic item of the same type with enchantments based on the items level, the higher level the better enchantments can spawn, destroys sockets and gems if there are any.
Adamant Glyph will do the same for rare items and yes 3 Mithril glyphs in your cube will create an Adamant Glyph.
Mithirl and Adamant hammers have been added in and are used in upgrading and crafting recipes
Color dye's have also been added, which will permanently dye any weapon, shield, helmet or armor and these dye's will make quite an intense color shift to whatever you dye... You can create dyes with a gem of any color of the dye you want and a potion of any color of the dye you want placed in your cube together. You cannot re-dye in all cases, sometimes it lets you, sometimes it doesn't, so it's best to pick a color your planning on sticking with.
1 chipped ruby + 1 heal potion = red dye
1 skull + 1 antidote potion = black dye
1 chipped emerald + gas potion = green dye.
There are 9 different colors in total.
New and upgraded Mercenaries. Merc's will no longer gain resistances based on level. But can now equip belts, gloves, boots, rings and amulets and also have a larger range of equipment to select from... For example, rogue's can use crossbow class weapons. They also have access to new and improved skills, mostly on the higher difficulty settings. There are 4 new mercenary types!
Level requirements of all equipment is now equal to the equipments level... Though this will not really be noticed, as by the time you find or buy these items you'll already be in the proper level. This is mainly to curb hand-me-downs to prevent extremely new characters for using high-level equipment given to them. The level req though really isn't anything steep though.
Gold loss from the stash in multiplayer games has been removed.
You can carry twice as much gold, as the stash can also hold twice as much.
Bosses have special Hitpoint Bars different from normal enemies and much bigger.
Town Portal has been removed "I know what your thinking, please read the rest". This mainly due to it being easily exploitable on multiplayer games and I also wanted to give players the feel of a more ruthless wilderness/deep dungeon atmosphere, besides that waypoints are often never to far away. Most visits to town are done for repairs, stocking up and selling or dumping equipment... With the increased inventory size and extra durability, visits to town wont be required as often.
And no easy retreats back to town during a boss fight to recover and re-stock on potions.
And a stronger desire to avoid death. Since honestly, death is barely even a slight inconvenience in Diablo II unless your playing hardcore.
We had our doubts about this at first, but it has been working out very well. You'll have to see for yourself, but in our opinion it is certainly an over-rated privilage that makes things a bit too convenient and one we have come not to miss in the slightest.
Town Portal Orbs however, which function much like portal shrines, have been placed at the entrances of all boss dungeons that don't have waypoints inside of them, and inside some of the longer dungeons themselves.
As normal, there are numerous possibilities for character templates and party combinations, the bare minimum essential is for your party to have at least one primary tank, one means of long range support and one means of party support... How you wish to achieve that and beyond that will be whatever party your group wants to put together. Many combinations work!
That about sums it up. There are other subtle changes and additions I haven't mentioned but you get the theme of it by now.
This is geared toward fresh new multiplayer characters who will fight through the legions of the prime evil's as a close group, somewhat poetic in a D&D fashion, of course only great dangers would keep you from wandering off from the group, I'm sure there are some brave enough, or foolish? Who would scout ahead or split up.
This is also very oriented toward climactic boss battles and there are many of them!
This will appeal to both veteran and newer players, many surprises await.
1.) Save resistance items for when you go up against bosses who focus more in specific elementals. Example, if you have low poison resistance against a poison oriented boss, you can expect to feel the consequences.
2.) Solo treasure hunting can help if your getting the shaft for items or if your group has a poor treasure splitting system.
3.) Stay with your group as often as you can.
4.) Many of the challenges and bosses you'll go up against will require a certain level of strategy, don't be discouraged if your group is walloped by a situation the first time, pay attention to the situation and find out how to better tackle it.
SOLO EDDITION SPECIFICS:
For the solo edition, certain hardcore aspects of Hell Unleashed have been tonned down to allow single player for those who have no interest, time, or opportunity for multiplayer, you can find the link to this version below. These changes include...
Monsters have less HP
Monsters do less damage
Monsters have decreased skill levels 0/+5/+10 rather then +1/+7/+12
Monsters have decreased AC and Attack Rating.
Town Portal scrolls spawn once again.
Full Rejuv potions will spawn once again, rarely.
Rejuv potions spawn more frequently.
Heal and Mana potions slightly stronger.
Experience gain is increased.
Resist Penalty per difficulty is -45/-90 rather then -60/-120
Freeze and Curse penalty versus monsters is restored to default.
Life/Mana leech from the prime evils is possible in Hell difficulty again.
Immunities are less frequent and easier to break.