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Increased Attack Speed Operating Differently in Diablo II: Resurrected
10/11/2021 em 16:26
Recently, players have discovered that the Increased Attack Speed (IAS) attribute and its upper-level breakpoints are not behaving as they used to behave. Players who pile on IAS gear onto their high-level characters and/or use items that give them access to attack-speed increasing abilities such as Paladins' Fanaticism aura are experiencing crazy high IAS, to the point that characters are nearly blurring on the screen. In original D2, this did not happen to this extent. While IAS is the hardest of the four breakpoints to predict (it's based on too many factors to chart easily), there were caps to IAS that prevented such player speeds from being possible. Speed builds such as the Zealadin or Fury Werewolf could hit very, very fast, but this level of speed just didn't happen.
Breakpoints have built-in caps, a point after which you can no longer improve that skill. For example, a Druid using Faster Cast Rate can improve their frame rate to no fewer than 10 fps, but a Sorceress can improve to as high as 7 fps. It appears, though, that IAS may now be operating either with no existing cap, or with a highly increased cap.
This seems to suggest that piling on high levels of IAS may allow a character to operate beyond what was considered normal IAS restrictions.
Note that this does not affect or change IAS breakpoints at lower levels.
In most cases, you'd need to get well beyond 180% IAS to even start seeing some of these differences -- more depending on your class and weapon choice.
Is the faster attack real, or does it just appear faster? Is it a bug or a feature? Let's look at the evidence.
Is it frame rate differences between D2 and D2:R?
The original Diablo II was built on an engine that allowed animations to happen within 25 frames per second (fps). To preserve the original look and feel of the game, the developers decided that D2:R would remain true to this graphics limitation. There are actions that require using up a certain number of those frames per second. Breakpoints are percentages of these traits where the game removes 1 frame in the animation, which speeds up the action. Get a high enough percentage of a skill and you can significantly increase the rate at which you hit monsters, cast spells, block damage, or recover from hits. Each class, and different forms within each class, have different ranges for breakpoints. The four involved attributes (Increased Attack Speed, Faster Cast Rate, Faster Block Rate, Faster Hit Recovery) and their breakpoints can be improved with gear and abilities.
However, D2:R displays at 60fps, not 25fps. Is this a possible disconnect or display bug related to the differences in frame rates?
If this was a display issue between the functional frame rate for actions vs. display rate, you'd expect to see similar issues cropping up in regards to the three other attributes -- Faster Cast Rate, Faster Block Rate, and Faster Hit Recovery. So far, nobody is reporting their Sorceress turning into the magic equivalent of a machine gun, or their Werewolf turning into The Flash when hit. If it was a global issue created by frame rate disparity, we'd be seeing the issue across the boards with all breakpoints, not just IAS. You'd also see IAS behaving differently at lower levels, which it doesn't appear to do.
Is it a client-side vs. server-side display bug?
The other possibility is that the Increased Attack Speed animations are displaying as faster, but their effective rate hasn't actually improved. This might indicate a disconnect between client side (what the player sees) and server side (how the server is calculating the actions, damage, etc).
There is precedent for this kind of bug in Diablo II, as there was a well-known issue with the Amazon ability Strafe and IAS. Amazons who hit the breakpoint to reduce their IAS from 3fps to 2fps saw the action as if they were getting 2fps, but players determined it was still hitting at the same rate as it did at 3fps. In other words, the action on screen sped up, but the server wasn't giving full credit.
In the present case of IAS, there are a couple factors that argue for this
being a client side/server side bug. This isn't entirely easy to check in Diablo II: Resurrected, as there is no Combat Log or anything officially in-game to check damage rates. However, there are two strong pieces of evidence that IAS at the upper levels is working differently.
Items that proc on hit seem to be applying more frequently.
These include any items that say "X% Chance to Cast Level XX XXXX on Striking", such as Atma's Scarab Unique amulet ability "5% Chance to Cast Level 2 Amplify Damage on Striking". In cases where a character has massive IAS and a number of Chance on Strike abilities seem to be applying these a lot faster than expected.
The change seems to affect NPCs, not just players.
Many, many players have observed that certain classes of NPCS in Hell mode, particularly Megademons (Balrog, Pit Lord, Venom Lord) in Act IV and Blood Lords in Act V, have sped up to the point that it's easy to get nearly one-shot (or dozen-shot) in the blink of an eye. Blood Lords have a natural Frenzy attack which speeds up their hits as they swing -- and they sometimes don't even attack at all. NPCs are more likely to have values hardcoded in, but it's clear that the same cap on attack speed that appears to be lifted from characters also doesn't apply to these unnaturally behaving mobs.
So this doesn't seem to be an optical illusion. The pain is real.
Has the IAS cap been removed?
It's not possible to know without confirmation from Blizzard developers whether the IAS cap has been removed or simply extended beyond its previous limits, but the game certainly seems to be acting as if previous upper limits to IAS no longer apply. While this does not affect most players who are still well within measurable, previously known IAS limits, end-game characters piling on huge numbers of IAS items are demonstrating that they can achieve massive speed increases previously impossible in D2.
Bug or Feature?
It's entirely possible that this is a bug, and that Blizzard will hotfix it out. But I'd like to make a case for it not being removed, and that's the case for greater end-game diversity.
One of the weaknesses of Diablo II has always been its relatively narrow list of viable end-game builds, and the fact that the vast majority of these builds are caster-focused. Even end-game builds of "melee" classes such as Paladin are caster-focused; the Hammerdin, long considered one of the strongest, is actually a caster build around the Blessed Hammer ability. The other top builds, such as Blizzard/Frost Orb Sorceress, Summon/Poison Nova Necromancer, and Lightning Trapsin, are also primarily caster builds; Whirlwind Barbarian is the only one that appears in some S-tier lists as melee. Although Javazons use IAS as their primary attack breakpoint, they're still ranged, not a true in-your-face melee DPS build.
Melee builds that focus on high attack speed, such as various Bowazon builds, Zealadin, shapeshifted Druids, or Kicksin Assassin, tend to be rated lower. Descriptions of these builds are often prefaced with "struggles in endgame". Removing or extending the IAS cap would help make some of these melee-focused builds more viable endgame choices.
For more information about Breakpoints and gearing for Increased Attack Speed, please see our guides:
Breakpoints in Diablo II: Resurrected Gearing for IAS Breakpoints
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