The problem is that some tanks get nothing from more traditional DPS statistics, while others do; it’s no coincidence that the tanks with the highest DPS (paladins and monks) are the ones that scale defensively with things like haste or critical strike. All the while, warrior damage is abysmally poor in comparison because we get absolutely nothing from haste, and not a lot from critical strike either. Death knights suffer similar issues, but they at least get decent returns on weapon damage.
In fact, if you wish to discuss lazy design, warriors are in the same position as paladins were in Cataclysm; forced into reforging out of mastery at the Critical Block cap, just to reforge into avoidance. Yay.
Anyway, I digress.
Paladins, for an existing tank class, got the gold in the active mitigation redesign. There’s no argument to be had here. This is mainly due to Sanctity of Battle which not only increases DPS, but directly increases their mitigation via Holy Power generation (among other things). This isn’t news to anyone, but it’s worth being clear so that parallels can be drawn.
Now, take Riposte (new passive talent for warriors and DK’s).
This is a buff to avoidance rather than using a DPS secondary for mitigation, purely because it translates a traditional tanking secondary into more damage. Paladins, monks and druids do the opposite – they get a DPS secondary translating into more mitigation which, to me, is far more compelling and the direction I’m assuming the whole tanking community will go in 6.0. I’d like to think it’s for sure that warriors can’t be the laughing stock of the tanking fraternity for yet another expansion, and this seems like the way to go.
In short, avoidance is going to be removed from gear as alluded to by a Ghostcrawler tweet and all tanks will scale defensively from offensive secondary statistics such as haste or critical strike. These final patch changes are essentially heralding in some of the things we can expect to see come 6.0.
Also, I do find the comment about “avoidance is still okay with regards to TDR, so it can’t really be buffed”. I think that’s probably right, but not necessarily in the way you mean; how do you buff avoidance? It means you reduce the damage of an attack to zero, so there’s no viable way to buff it other than making it easier to stack. Secondly, it’s not total damage that kills tanks – spikes kill tanks. The mana sponge argument died in WotLK and it’s not coming back, so no tanks are going to increase their chances of taking a spike which is why avoidance is never likely to be favoured. The developers know this. Warriors and paladins could maybe get away with avoidance gearing given that Sacred Shield and Shield Barrier work in tandem, but it’s not worth the trade off to most.
The potentially bigger change is the one that threatens the paladin mana pool but, luckily, that change won’t go live. It can’t. When building a rotation, classes are either cooldown-restricted or resource-restricted; it can’t be both, because that’s doubly punitive, and would make paladins the worst tank in the game with a single change. No, those changes are aimed at Holy (though I can’t tell why, Holy needs buffed IMHO) and Protection will be buffed elsewhere to accommodate.
Don’t worry. Protection paladins will be fine. You’ll still be very good tanks, even if you spend a patch not being the best of the five. I know that must feel like something’s broken, but other tanks have to live with it, I’m afraid. So should you.