"Chests" refer to all objects capable of holding items in Diablo II. Barrels, chests, crates, lootable corpses, hidden stashes, etc. These types of objects have different odds to drop items, and different qualities of items.
Doing chest runs in some areas with a lot of chests is a very good way to find multiple high quality items, especially runes. While all chests are potentially useful, the super chests are the ones to hit; you'll find one or two of those near the campfires in Lower Kurast, for example.
There are a lot of "super chests" in the game, ones that can (and often do) drop multiple items at once. Most super chests are sparkly chests, but not all super chests sparkle, and not all sparkling chests are super. A quote from the sparkly chest guide explains:
- ...not all chests that sparkle are “Sparkly Chests.” Some sparkling chests are “Quest Chests.” These are chests that yield Quest items and they have different rules for dropping items. Quest Chests include, among others, the Maggot Lair chest, The Spider Cavern Chest, the Kurast Lvl 2 chest, the Ruined Temple chest (Lam Esen’s Tome), etc. True “Sparkly Chests” do not yield a quest item.
- There are 24 Sparkly Chests within each difficulty level –or a total of 72 on the path to Hell Baal. There are five chests with identical characteristics in the False Tal Rasha’s Tombs. The Great Marsh has two Sparkly Chests with identical characteristics. The other 17 chests are each individualistic in their drop odds as they are encountered on Normal, Nightmare (NM) and Hell (H) difficulty levels.
Chest Drops in Level 85 Areas
- Crypt, Pit Levels 1 & 2: TC66
- Maggot Lair lvl 3, Ancient Tunnels: TC69
- The Temples in Kurast, Kurast Sewers lvl 2: TC 75
- River of Flame, Chaos Sanctuary: TC 78
- WSK: TC87
Read some very deep, technical explanations of how chests generate items: