Bashiok jumped into a very long and fairly troll-y thread about Diablo III’s mechanics and dropped some useful info. More in terms of how D2 works than how D3 is going to work, but there are a few tidbits about that as well. Here’s the useful stuff:
I’ll make two statements on break points:
# Break points were an effect of the Diablo II engine, not a gameplay mechanic specifically designed into the game.
# Even modern games run at specific tick rates, and Diablo III is no different. I’ll only say it’s more than 25.
I believe that wasn’t the point of the post. I think he was suggesting that the minimum gain from any stat that deals with breakpoints only increase based on the lowest break point value, thus eliminating the need to learn break points.
…If there’s still that very old problem, maybe the items that make no real effect on the attack speed have some asterisk near their AS value? Because this isn’t something that can be “fixed” as far as I’m concerned.
Bashiok: Well, you could say (for Diablo II) there’s only 24 points of attack speed increase possible to obtain. Each one removes a frame of animation. That’d be pretty clear.
It’s just not very sexy to chase single digit increases, and tough to itemize, so they’re given some weight and a curve, and it becomes a bit mathier, but a lot more fun to go after.
See the Breakpoints article in our Diablo II wiki for far more details, including charts and tables for every class/item/etc. While it’s true that there were 25 frames per second in Diablo II, that’s a little misleading when speaking about Increased Attack Speed, since no character spells or attacks were that slow. The slowest was the Amazon’s 1H weapon attack, which took 17 frames, but could be cut all the way down to 5 frames with enough (480+) IAS.
As you’ll see from the tables, there’s a lot of diminishing returns with most faster modifiers, especially IAS, and the speeds are further modified by skills and weapon types. It’s quite likely the same will be true of Diablo III; the changes just won’t be so obvious, since the game runs with a lot higher “ticks” per second than D2 did. We’ll be able to make clear improvements to our character’s attack, casting, hit recovery, etc rates with just a bit of equipment upgrade. But to get the speed all the way up will require much more specialization.
Another comment in the thread points out that weapon speeds shown on item hovers in just the Artisan Video include: 1, +(0.1-0.14) (modifier that appeared on a rare axe), 1.3, 1.4, and 1.5. This implies that there are at least 50 “ticks” per second in the D3 engine.