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I've just started Diablo 2 in single player mode, and there is one thing I don't understand.

Some opponents drop keys, generally in multiple numbers (like 6 of them stacked). I can buy them in the towns, too. They seem to be generic, and don't have to be identified, so no mystery there.

What do they open?

Can I sell them without worrying about that they might be useful later?

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up vote 19 down vote accepted

Keys are used to unlock locked chests, which are scattered across the game world. As per this page:

Keys are dropped by monsters or purchased for a very low price in town. They stack 12 high, and are readily available. Each time you open a locked chest, one of your keys is used, and destroyed. There are no locked doors, and never anything in a locked chest you have to have to advance in the game. They are purely a bonus item, but as locked chests are common, you should be sure to always carry some of these (unless you play an Assassin, who can pick locks).

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hm. so far I haven't encountered any locked chests or didn't realize to have opened them with a key, then :) –  Bora Sep 26 '11 at 11:40
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It's very easy when clicking away to not realize that you're unlocking them with a key, if you have keys in your inventory. They make a slightly different sound when you unlock them, as compared to normal chests, I believe. But since most of the time I'm just hastily clicking chests, I don't notice it most of the time either. It's nice to have a few keys available at any given time, but you need not worry about having multiple stacks. –  Tux Sep 26 '11 at 12:06
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I actually remember how annoying it is when you do not have keys. Having your brawny barbarian say something like "I don't have any keys" is rather absurd when he is holding a giant axe that he uses to liberally dispose of similarly large monsters. –  Aubergine Sep 26 '11 at 12:26
    
Still, I miss the days where a specific key and no other was necessary to open a specific chest, if it ever was able to be opened. –  Bora Sep 26 '11 at 13:33
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Also to notice, in the expansion, if you're playing as an Assassin, you don't need keys to open locked chests. –  TyrantWave Sep 26 '11 at 15:28
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