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Magic items are more powerful than normal items, usually spawning a couple of affixes.
Diablo IIEditMagic items are fairly common in Diablo II. They are denoted by their name being colored blue, as opposed to a normal item's white. When a Magic item is dropped from a chest or monster, it initially appears unidentified. Unlike in the original Diablo, you cannot equip an item you haven't identified yet. There are two ways to identify (or ID) such an item. First, you can purchase a Scroll of Identify, and use it on the item. Second, if you've finished the Act 1 quest; The Search for Cain, you can ask Cain to identify the item for you. He will ID items at no charge, if you succeeded in saving him, or by a small fee if you did not complete the quest. It is as simple as selecting the "Identify Items" command when you speak to him.
When you identify a Magic Item, you will see certain words added to the item's name, either prefixes (Such as "Brutal Short Sword"), suffixes ("Axe of Frost"), or a combination of both ("Glowing Ring of Craftsmanship"). Each prefix or suffix represents one magical property on the item. However, multiple prefixes or suffixes can't appear on one single Magic Item (For more on that, see Rare Items). This means the most special attributes a Magic item can have is two. The affixes on a Magic item are determined by the game the moment the item appears, not when you identify it. There is a 1/4 chance of a Magic item having both a prefix and a suffix, a 1/4 chance of only a prefix, and a 1/2 chance of only a suffix.
Almost every attribute that appears on Magic items can also appear on Rare items, but there are a few that are Magic-only (they will only appear on Magic items). This is because the affixes would give an unbalanced amount of power to a Rare item.