The hellion is a high-speed raider built around a lightweight four-wheel chassis and is regarded as a support unit. It is only lightly protected, with a stockneosteel frame for high maneuverability.
Midway through the Second Great War, hellions were given the ability to transform into bipedial walkers named hellbats. Due to this upgrade, it became a necessity to replace the plating in older hellion models. Dominion engineers used an experimental paristeel/bonded carbide weave—lighter and better insulated—to protect operator and machine from the incredibly high temperatures of the Napalm Spray. Additional heat-shielding, made from an expanding and re-forming material, was installed under the hellion’s chassis.
Hellions are commonly used by mercenary companies, and can be modified for other uses such as for the sport demolition. These demolition hellions are commonly used by fringe worldjunker gangs. Many mercenary companies illegally modify their hellions with stim emitters.
A stylish chromed-rimmed variant of the hellion was designed for the Knights of Tyrador by in collaboration with street racer-turned-fashion icon JJ Hyun.
"High running speed and long, hellish streams of ignited plasma make the hellion a perfect hit-and-run nightmare against slow-moving light infantry and base resource workers. Built for off-road durability around a lightweight four-wheel chassis, hellions bring great value to the military motor pool—low cost, high damage output."
Hellions excel at lightning-fast strike missions and evasive maneuvering. They are capable of causing damage disproportionate to their size, particularly against enemy infantry, thanks to their heavy infernal flamethrowers. This is directed using an antiquated targeting system that later upgraded to have improved tracking, though many marines doubted how much it had improved. Additionally, the hellion's remarkable acceleration allows for improvisational tactics in the field. Some hellion drivers will deliberately outrun their enemies only to turn and attack when they have reached maximum range. The low cost, exceptional agility, and devastating firepower of these vehicles have made them extremely popular with mercenary companies, many of whom modified them to make quick escapes.
The hellion is controlled by a driver who sits within a pressurized cabin. Its worn faux-leather seats are lined with fireproof material capable of stopping shrapnel. The pilot is secured by numerous straps and padding. Some drivers opt to personalize their space through trinkets such as hanging dice, bobbleheads, or simple photographs.
For propulsion, the hellion uses a variable burn engine powered by diverse liquid or compressed fuels, with portrenol being the most popular due to its low cost. This high-shift newton engine makes for a very fast vehicle, and is a versatile piece of engineering. Some veteran hellion drivers claim it will run on anything, even a bottle of Scotty Bolger's Old No. 8 Whisky. Four wheels carry the hellion along, and when hellions entered service, they came equipped with all-terrain armored non-pneumatic tires. These tires have a high shock-absorption index, and are capable of running flat for up to 100 km—supposedly enough to get out of a hot zone. Untraversable locations, however, proved the need for a better tire. Raynor's Raiders developed an armored, non-pneumatic tire with a high shock absorption index. Soon after, the Dominion, thanks to its network of spies, secured the blueprints and upgraded its entire hellion motor pool.
The Dominion Special Forces created their own three-wheeled variant of the hellion, making it sleeker and easier to steer. Many hellion drivers stated this variant was more fun to drive.
In use by 2490, the hellion was originally developed as an armored combat vehicle, but was deemed too cumbersome to be effective in its intended scout role. After it was stripped down to a bare-bones neosteel frame, engineers began reconstructing the hellion as a lightly armored vehicle, focused on speed and mobility. The hellion ended up becoming one of the best terran skirmishers in the Koprulu sector and beyond. The Dominion Armed Forces used the hellion as their primary scouting vehicle, supplanting the role once held by the vulture. Taking note of the hellion's good performance record, the Dominion developed the hellbat, a vehicle based on the hellion, but with the ability to transform into a bi-pedal walker. The entire Dominion hellion motor pool has been upgraded to hellbat form.
Hellions made their way into the motor pool of the Umojan Protectorate. Their hellions sport improved suspension, defensive plating, and more comfortable seats for their drivers.
The hellion has movement animations; it slightly rises when it starts moving, and lowers when it stops.
The hellion is a fast-moving unit, fast enough to chase down enemy units and easily reposition itself. Hellions are strong against tier 1 units and workers. They are weak against thors, stalkers, and roaches.
A factory can immediately produce hellions directly, and if an armory is present, can also produce hellbats directly. They cannot switch forms into each other unless Transformation Servos are researched at a tech lab.
A recommended tactic is to use the hellion as an ambush unit, positioning it on high ground to attack units below it. Four hellions (ideally upgraded) can be loaded into a medivac dropship for a tactical strike on the enemy's mineral line. Though delicate, hellions are agile, making them excellent hit and run units in the early game, particularly against melee units such as zealots or zerglings.
The Hellion's weapon targets only ground units. It does splash damage in a line, targeting one unit but striking all units along the line.
The hellion must stop in order to attack. The weapon strikes targets instantly and can be used for (almost literal) hit and run attacks and "kiting". To do maximum damage, it should shoot once, close the gap, shoot again, close the gap again, and so forth in order to maximize damage and not waste shots. Attacks should not be targeted on the closest opponents, but instead those further back, to ensure the maximum number of enemy units are hit. If the attack is launched at a precise distance, then by the time the flames hit the target the Hellion can be moving away to safety. However, units that move out of the flame take less damage so a player should try to keep the flame on enemy units to maximize damage.
Dustin Browder has expressed regret about the handling of the hellion in the campaign. While the hellion's mobility is useful in multiplayer, firebat/medic combinations in singleplayer arbitrarily outshone it.
Attack upgrades improve attack cooldown of affected units by 5% per level.
These self-replicating ultra capacitors reduce the reload time of weapons and systems. Now each of the weapon upgrades at the armory and engineering bay increases attack speed by 5% in addition to increasing damage.
Armor upgrades increase health of affected units by 5% per level.
We have created a new lightweight alloy called vanadium. Vanadium diffuses weapon impacts much more efficiently than traditional armor plating, and it better preserves the life of our units. Now each of the armor upgrades in the armory and engineering bay increases unit life by 5% in addition to increasing armor.
Damaged mechanical units recover hit points when out of combat, at a rate of 0.6015 each second.
Our ship and vehicle hulls are now made from a material called Regenerative Bio-Steel. This material uses internal nanobots to slowly repair any damage the hull sustains. While this regeneration process is much slower than conventional SCV repairs, it can be the difference between life and death if no SCVs are available.
In Nova Covert Ops, the hellion can equip one of various provided upgrades and abilities for each mission. However, they are only usable in their hellbat form. Special ordnance and smart servos are usable in hellion form.
The player's hellions use a different unit model with three wheels, compared to the standard four-wheeled hellion.