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If there is anyone posting here that has mapping knowledge ,they would be able to tell you that even low end graphics can cause too much stutter if the mapper was a noob and didnt use any skill in creating it.Too much use of .ani[animation] textures can rise the polycount.Improper use of brushes is another as well as improper zoning.if the characters and weapons have high poly counts then again this will tax your card.There are quite a few knowledgeable skills that go into mapping.Remember that when this game was created,half the midline graphics cards would have been top of the line,so i think very mid line graphics cards should be more than enough.It really sounds to me like the mappers for this game were not very skilled at there job.Since this game handed out the editor,then you can like in most cases expect better mapping from your local players than the designers.
It has very little to do with high end graphics its all about how the graphics were used.Like i said when games are designed the top end graphics cards were not even designed yet so ,there is no way you should need top end gear.Poor design is the flaw ,expect better results from your playing public.This happens in most games not just this one.
Never forget 3 mile Island and never trust a government official or company spokesman.