Identify is a spell found in the original Diablo. Its use was to reveal the properties of an unidentified item so that it could be used. It was not available as a spell in Diablo II, but was implemented into the game as a scroll.
Unidentified items once equipped stay on the character applying their mods and could not be removed. This spell was especially useful because of the various negative attributes that items could receive at that time so that the item could be unequipped if the item had a negative mod.
This spell's functions were provided by Deckard Cain for the price of 100 gold per item. This was useful for low-level characters until they could get their hands on a Staff of Identify. Like all other spells in Diablo I, Identify also appeared in Scroll form as the Scroll of Identify which was carried over to Diablo II.
It may be a good idea to save the game before identifying items, for with some bad luck, the selling price of loot may be below 100 gold, leaving player at no profit for selling the identified item.
Any object imbued with magic exhibits an aura that is easily noticed. To determine the exact nature of this enchantment, however, requires intense study and an extensive knowledge of arcane materials and symbols. While none have mastered the ability to memorize a spell of this magnitude, the Vizjerei have developed a means for the untrained to discover the secrets of an ensorcelled object by using a rare crystal that is extremely sensitive to magical auras. This sensitivity makes it very fragile, however and the crystal will shatter if it is brought too close to an enchanted item. The very act of Identifying such an object also destroys the crystal. Scrolls and staves have been crafted that can be used to Identify magical auras. By using special inks and dyes that contain tiny grains of these crystals, the stability of the crystal is maintained until it is used to examine the enchanted object.
- Townsperson - as listed above, Deckard Cain provides the service of identification.
- Class skill - the Bard from the Hellfire expansion possesses Deckard Cain's power of identification.
Due to the complete overhauling of the Skill system in Diablo II, Identify was robbed of its Spell status and transformed into a mere scroll that would drop from monsters and bought from magical vendors.
In Diablo II, the act of Identifying is limited to the act of using a Scroll of Identify on an unidentified item, Tomes of Identify are used in a similar manner. This was done by right-clicking the Scroll and clicking of an item to identify it. The result is that the hidden attributes will be shown. Unlike in Diablo I, this is always a positive change, as there are no negative attributes in Diablo II, except in some Unique Items, as well as the fact that unidentified items merely sell for the price of the standard equipment version, in addition to being useless as they cannot be equipped.
Deckard Cain can also identify items, this time for free if you rescued him in the Search for Cain. He will show up in multiplayer games and have the same function for players who have not done the quest, but he will charge 100 gold to identify each item in your inventory. Since scrolls only cost 80 gold, it is slightly more expensive if you haven't done the quest but it saves you time.
The power of identification returns in Diablo III, though somewhat changed. Scrolls are no longer necessary for the Nephalem, as they have an identification power of their own, though this is outmatched by Deckard Cain, as well as his book.
Originally, the scrolls of identification were implemented, but over the course of development and releasing of patches, the identification process was becoming less strict. At first, the scrolls were removed and replaced with right-clicking and channeling the spell for 3 seconds. Magic quality items no longer need to be identified. Prior to the pre-expansion patch, Rare items required identification, but since then, no longer require such. As result, only Legendary and Set items require identification.
To identify many items at once, players can use the Book of Cain or (in the first half of Act I, they can also ask Cain for help).
This action, once begun, requires concentration. The hero cannot do anything, even performing an instantaneous action, and will immediately lose progress if attacked, no matter how damaging the successful blow. As such, it is unwise to identify items in the middle of battle.
- Identifying a Legendary/Set item, or using Deckard Cain's services, book or not, requires 4 seconds of concentration.