In response to your, well, responses:
1. I see. I had assumed that the sprite distortion must be doing some indirect overhead (well, a lot of indirect overhead). In my testing I could reach about 15,000 1x1 meshes with a 1x1 texture before getting subpar framerates. This is with an 8800 GTX, a decent computer, and a cap that does nothing after generating the meshes.
Apparently Crysis uses 20,000 tris for a single vehicle, with 1024x1024 textures.
I know I cannot do direct comparisons here, but there must be something I can do to increase the framerate. Are you implying that a 1x1 sprite mesh is more than 2 tris or a single quad (would explain a lot)?
Just to clarify, the method I'm using currently is creating 1x1 meshes as faux polygons (tri or quad). You would know better than I what kind of overhead that might create.
2. True. Thanks for your honest answer.
3. So essentially I should only really be getting bottle necked by what I display at runtime (barring exceptionally sloppy programming on my part, of course)?
Edit: Extra clarification in 1.