BreakpointsBreakpoints are the values at which spells, attacks, hit recovery and other animations become a frame faster or slower. It’s essential to know the main breakpoints for your character’s attack rate, and knowing all the rest is very useful to wisely plan your equipment.

Why Are there Diablo 2 Breakpoints?

Since Diablo II runs with 2D graphics, at 25 frames per second, events can only occur at discrete numbers of frames. As a result of this, improvements to attack rate, casting speed, hit recovery, and blocking rate are measured by the number of frames required to display the motion.

If a normal attack with a given weapon takes 10 frames, some amount of faster attack bonus will drop it down to 9 frames, but until that amount is reached, no improvement will occur. Players call the amounts of improvement necessary to cause a change “breakpoints.”

Speeds for all of these properties vary greatly between the different characters and items. Many attack skills have their own speeds and breakpoints. Other skills (such as Fanaticism) modify the overall speed of all attacks.

Values must meet or exceed numbers to achieve that breakpoint. If a breakpoint requires 48% Faster Hit Recovery, you will not get it with 46% or 47%. You must get to 48%, and then anything above that will cause no change until you meet or exceed the next breakpoint.

Increased speeds are displayed by dropping frames of animation. This can result in very fast movements looking choppy. For instance, if a character’s basic attack with a given weapon requires 12 frames for the full animation (showing the arm swinging, the weapon descending, the hit landing, and then the weapon being lifted back to the ready pose), and your character has that attack down to 5 frames, thanks to a lot of IAS and a boost from Fanaticism, 7 of the 12 frames of animation will not be shown.

The game will only display the weapon at the top, halfway down, hitting, halfway back up and at rest. Hence it looks choppy. This display issue can not be avoided in a frame-based, 2D game. 3D games do not have this issue, since movements can be shown at any speed — the refresh rate of your monitor, 3D card, and the game engine permitting.

Breakpoint Modifiers

Modifiers that use the “breakpoint system” are:

  • Faster Block Rate (FBR)
  • Faster Cast Rate (FCR)
  • Faster Hit Recovery (FHR)
  • Increased Attack Speed (IAS)

Given below are tables for FBR, FCR and FHR. Breakpoints for IAS depend on too many variables (item, skill, character, equipment) to be put in simple tables.

In DiabloII, animation speeds are measured in “frames,” as explained above. One frame is 1/25 of a second.

Increased Blocking Speed

More commonly called “fast block”, this modifier helps characters block more frequently.

A character goes into block animation if its opponent succeeds in the hit check and the character succeeds in a blocking check. The character can do nothing else during the blocking animation. Blocking is only possible while engaged in melee combat, or while walking. (Not while running.)

Improvements to faster blocking are difficult to achieve since the bonuses to it are found almost exclusively on shields.

  • In some cases the equipped weapon influences the blocking speed.
  • The Assassin’s Weapon Block skill is also affected by her Faster Block Rate, and the same values as for shield blocking apply.
  • Act 3 mercenaries do not block even though they are capable of using a shield.
CharacterWeapon / Skill / FormBlock Frames
Amazon1H swinging weapon (*)04611152329405680120200480
Other weapons0133286600
DruidHuman form061320325286174600
Bear form051016274065109223
Wolf form0715274886200
with Holy Shield086
CharacterWeapon / Skill / Form1716151413121110987654321
Block Frames

(*) 1-handed swinging weapons include 1-handed axes, clubs, 1-handed maces, orbs, scepters, 1-handed swords, 2-handed swords wielded in one hand, throwing axes, and wands.

Faster Cast Rate

Faster casting rate is found on a variety of equipment. This stat is most important for spell-casters, for obvious reasons. All spells are affected by this value, but note that some spells have a 1 second, or longer, delay between uses. For those spells, FCR equipment will lower the frames required for the actual casting animation, but the 1 second delay will still run (for 25 frames) after each cast.

For instance, if your character takes 11 frames to cast a spell that has a 1 second delay, that’s 11 + 25 = 36 frames per use. If you you use FCR equipment to cut your casting frames to 7, you’ll still have to wait 7 + 25 = 32 frames to cast it again. Saving 4 frames ever time you cast a spell will certainly add up over hundreds of casts, but the difference is less noticeable than it is with spells you can “spam” as quickly as your character can cast them.

CharacterSkill / FormCasting Frames
Bear form071526406399163
Wolf form061426406095157
SorceressLightning / Chain Lightning071523355278117194
other spells09203763105200
Merc Act 3all081526395886138
CharacterSkill / Form2322212019181716151413121110987
Casting Frames

Faster Hit Recovery

The hit recovery counter is triggered by any hits that take off more than 1/12th of your character’s maximum hit points. When this happens your character is knocked into a “hit stun” animation, which must be completed before you can take another action. Characters (or mercs or monsters) may be stunned repeatedly, trapping them in “stun lock,” a very dangerous situation.

There are also a variety of skills (for players and monsters) that cause the target to be stunned. Other skills and spell effects can cause all hits to stun while they are in effect.

CharacterEquipped weaponHit Recovery Frames
Druid; Human form1H swinging weapon (*)037131929426399174456
Other weapons05101626395686152377
Druid; Bear formall05101624375486152360
Druid; Wolf formall09204286280
Necromancer; Human formall05101626395686152377
Necromancer; Vampire formall026101624344872117????
PaladinSpears and staves0371320324875129280
Other weapons0715274886200
Merc Act 1all061320325286174600
Merc Act 2all059142030426086142280
Merc Act 3all05813182432466386133232600
Merc Act 5all0715274886200
CharacterEquipped weapon171615141312111098765432
Hit Recovery Frames

(*) 1-handed swinging weapons include 1-handed axes, clubs, 1-handed maces, orbs, scepters, 1-handed swords, 2-handed swords wielded in one hand, throwing axes, and wands.

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