My human warrior had 32.2k unbuffed two weeks ago in max stam gear for lulz. However in my raid gear I have about 30.4k unbuffed or so now. I had JC with 41 stam gems, but replaced two of those with 27 expertise. Right now my goal is to try to stack as much expertise as I can even though I'm past the soft cap. Hopefully soon I can hit the hard cap as well with expertise food and elixirs.
As for avoidance, I don't worry about it anymore. I replaced all my +8 dodge/12 stam gems with +8 exp/12stams.
I use Darkmoon Card Greatness also for tanking lately. The extra threat from the 90 str and 45 SBV even without the proc is mad nice.
I'm starting to think that stamina tanks vs. avoidance tanks is sort of like the different healer classes (i.e. Paladin healers vs. Druid healers).
In some cases Hot's are preferred. In some cases big spike heals are preferred.
Similarly, in some cases maximizing effective hp is preferred. In some cases maximizing avoidance is preferred. The good news is, healers can't change classes, but tanks can build up multiple gear sets and/or get new enchants and gems.
Or.. there's always the third option of balancing your stats in between stacking stamina or stacking avoidance.
Blizzard certainly seems to think that tanks prefer stamina seeing as how Ghost's explanation for not putting in a stamina enchant to weapon was that "Tanks would never use anything else" including avoidance and threat enchants.
They also talked about how they base the fights on the potential stamina achievable by tanks. Seeing as how they felt that +50 stamina would throw things out of whack and force them to rebalance encounters they must expect tanks to fully gear out in it for the difficult stuff.
They dropped it because 50/75 Stam is much larger survival value than any other enchant currently available for tanks.
The fine print I think people miss a lot is WHY avoidance diminishes like armor. In both cases the more of the value you get, the smaller the amount of damage reduction you get per increment. Not real numbers but, the idea would be, if you get 500 armor and that reduces physical damage by 5%, the next 500 armor only reduces it by another 2.5%. Same thing with the avoidance stats, 50 dodge rating could give you 4% to dodge chance, and the next 50 would only give you 2% (NOT REAL NUMBERS =D).
Why do they do this? So we have to struggle to really improve beyond a certain level? No. What this does is regulate stats so that each one gives you a linear increase in lifespan. That means, for each stat, every increment will increase your lifespan by an equal amount regardless of what your ratings. The reason this works is because an even step in % towards 100% is actually an exponential step in survival, because it is closing a window.
Blizz are not dumb, there system is designed very carefully. People get nervous though because of a desire for control and reliability. In Blizz's modelling, they rely on the Law of Big Numbers. On an infinite sample size, avoidance is matched 1% for 1% with damage reduction from armor for survival, the math is pretty simple. People worry about the RNG and not getting an even value from their stats from fight to fight. "If I'm only taking 100 swings, what if the RNG only kicks in for half of my sheet %." This is fear, and it's psychology, but the system doesn't really work like that. I promise you. Take any boss fight (that's the highest stake part, normally, right?) and check your % avoidance to every other. I guarantee you won't see an overall deviation of more than 1-2%, sometimes higher sometimes lower, and that's usually measured in 1 or 2 swings. People have worshipped the utterly dependable value of Stam/Armor out of this fear, and in the old world that often seemed safer, since there was a lot more value from gems in terms of stam vs avoidance, and crushing blows threatened to make the swings that did get through MUCH more fatal.
Without crushing blows the liability is not the same. You say, "but stam doesn't diminish, that means it's better right?" This is faulty thinking. Blizzard aren't fools, they've balanced the stats to provide linear increases in lifespan, and stam is already a linear relation to that. Some folks have spent a lot more time with the formulae than I, and have found that some stats seem to fair better than others, but this is largely min/max concerns, and unless you're looking to squeeze the bitter optimum out of it, you won't likely notice the difference.
Nowadays we have the opportunity to not be so severely divided in terms of mitigation vs avoidance, because so much of the gear is stacked with some value of both. The end result is there are no true extremes. That being said, if you prefer to trend to mitigation > avoidance, you can expect a continual stream of damage that is smaller on each hit (physical anyway). And for those who trend to avoidance > mitigation you will see slightly larger hits, but they will be frequently staggered. At this point in the game I've seen neither being stronger than the other, as well it shouldn't be. I tank mainly as a DK, and I have about 65% functional avoidance against raid bosses, but the "spikes" of damage I take are nothing so awful to heal through, I've spent a lot of time comparing experiences among my fellow tanks and healers to see if there is a distinct difference. There just isn't among players of equivalent skill and gearing.
The real wash in this for me is that we get so much more value out of gear now and less from gems that really our gemming is just a way to flavor for personal tastes, not a vital part of your tanking. The different personal flavors are also simple:
0.) Survival vs Threat
Avoidance (miss/dodge/parry) vs Mitigation (armor/resist/block rating/value)
Hit, AP, Crit (block rating), (spellpower), (armor)
Expertise is a happy in-between of course. For a tank, to a value, it is worth double the value of hit rating for hit chance (removing dodge AND parry at values equal to hit removing miss %), but then the reduction in parry chance of the boss also reduces the number of swings the boss gets thereby further reducing our damage taken.
Each tank will decide, with item selection, gemming, enchants, talents, and glyphs, what is important to them. High threat, high avoidance, high mitigation, or just a balanced middle of the road setup. Honestly, I don't think you'll see a whole lot of difference these days between them, but you can't go wrong with balance.
skimming through the other posts, its not about vodka or whiskey. its about what job/task your looking for.
a tank should start off by getting defence capped. after that, he needs Avoidance cap.
once that is achieved, add stam till u get about 25-26k then its all about avoidance
you initially increase your dodge and parry to replace all the block rating you got on your initial gear to achieve avoidance cap.
Avoidance cap is 102.4, the original uncrushable. it is shown that this factor will allow the tank to take mitigated damage each time a boss or mob strikes him/her
more dodge and parry and agility. depending on your class...
for prot pallies, agility is very efficient but not always on gear. your gear has your avoidance capability, stack stam gems unless u need a few different gems for meta gem.
opps, the Avoidance (miss/dodge/parry) also includes shield block rating as a form of mitigation when its subjected to block value but when a boss hits you for 10k+, that is why it is nessecary to stack dodge/parry/agi with stam to replace block rating.
when you replace block rating, the meta gem that increases your block value by 5% will be less effective and when u get enough defence rating, make the switch for the 32 stam, 2% more armor one. Armor/Stam = life the amount of DR before death
Dariusii, Burning blade
Block value and rating, though I haven't gotten to play with them, are only good mitigation value if you use them. Otherwise it is a mechanic you can get very little value out of.
Personally, if I were using a shield I wouldn't neglect it, but like I said, I haven't done enough playing with it to have a good sense of how it can be used next to other stats.