Tanks + Exp + Hit + Ghostcrawler
Maybe I missed the thread covering this, but part 2 of the 10K dev thread covers GC's thoughts on some possible ideas beyond 4.1 for tanks.
One topic we’ve been discussing lately is the role of Hit and Expertise on tank gear (or more precisely, plate tanking gear). The conventional wisdom is that Hit and Expertise are threat stats, and you may need to swap them out with some of your mitigation stats depending on the situation. Realistically, unless you severely overgear the content, we don’t think that is actually true. Tanks almost always worry about survival first and foremost, which totally makes sense, and are willing to trade off threat stats for better mitigation in almost all situations. It’s much harder to progress if the tank explodes than it is if the cat occasionally pulls aggro. (It’s not quite that simple, but I’m going to gloss over details and exceptions since I spent so much text on the preamble up above).
Once upon a time, taunts could miss, and so Hit was marginally more interesting than it is today. Once upon a time, having a boss parry your attacks could speed up its swing timer, which turned Expertise into a (often weak) survival stat. Boss parries felt very random though, both in the sense that sometimes the tank would suddenly take much more damage than anticipated and there was no easy way to know which bosses had parry speed up. (Today, you can assume none of them do.) Until recently, interrupts could miss, but asking a tank to stack a bunch of Hit just for those few opportunities when they were probably going to hit anyway but disaster would occur if they did not felt crummy too.
The problem is that there aren’t a lot of stats that are interesting to tanks. Stamina and Armor are great, but their stat budget is often in lockstep with item level. (It would be interesting to consider if we could make that not the case once again, but that’s the topic for another blog.) We got rid of Defense as a stat that tanks needed to worry about. We have managed to make Mastery pretty good to excellent for tanks, so that’s at least one stat they like to see. Dodge and (if you’re a plate-wearer) Parry are good, and slightly interesting because of talents like Hold the Line. But beyond that, it starts to go downhill. Sure Haste and Crit can sometimes be fun, but really they often aren’t worth the trade off. That leaves us with Hit and Expertise. We’d like to make them more interesting to tanks. But how?
One way is by turning them into defensive stats. They are defensive stats for Blood death knights, because the DK self-healing is tied into Death Strike, which can miss. It might be possible to do something similar for the other classes. Imagine if Shield Block had to actually hit the target. Presumably you raise your shield, but not high enough to intercept the incoming blow. Now hit becomes a mitigation stat for warriors as well. We might have to adjust the mitigation amount on Shield Block or give warriors a small Hit bonus so Hit capping wasn’t totally unreasonable, but you get the basic idea. You could do the same with paladins (make Holy Shield more interesting?) and druids as well (Savage Defense could proc on a hit).
Is this a good idea? We’re not sure yet. You won’t see this change in the 4.1 patch for certain. There are trade-offs to making Hit and Expertise more valuable. Gearing as a tank might be more fun for experienced players, but it also might be more challenging for less experienced players. The number of struggling tanks in your Dungeon Finder groups might go up. Some less knowledgeable players (and to be fair, this stuff doesn’t exactly explain itself on the character sheet) might stack Hit way too high at the expense of a more valuable mitigation stat, such as mastery.
It is the kind of thing we’re talking about though, and if you want to make a contribution to the tanking forums but aren’t quite sure on a topic, here is one potential possibility.
-Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street is the lead systems designer of World of Warcraft. He still has Buru’s Skull Fragment.