So, throughout my life as a tank (which has really only been since the release of WoTLK) there's been a consistency with tanking stats: defense cap, stam & avoidance.
Now, with the release of T10 & ICC that seems to have changed but I can't seem to find any solid information on what to go on from here. I do see a lot of older guides (from this month last year) going on about EHP & stam.
Is that still the case? How's my buid & spec shape up in terms of tanking ICC 10 & 25 man? (I know I'm under for 25 man, but I'd like to know anyway.)
This is, I'm sure, a stupid question that I'm sure I know the answer to however I'm going to ask it anyway:
Should I shun the defense cap in lieu of more stam & armor?
My build currently is just over def cap (I've always skirted as close to it as I can to maximize stats in other needed areas) with decent numbers in dodge/parry, ok block & pretty good stam.
EH is currently the way to go for ICC. Gem and enchant for stam/armor where you can. Armor to cloak, stam to gloves, boots, shoulders, bracers, 275 hp to chest, etc. You must stay above 540 defense! Always use hybrid gems with stam to activate socket bonuses of 12 stam or more or to activate meta, else just gem for stam. Parry has the quickest diminishing returns and should never be gemmed. Get rid of the defense/block meta and get the stam/2% armor increase. The soft cap for expertise is 26 which you should shoot for. It is not required but will help a bit with threat since it will remove dodge from bosses.
As stated, re-gemming your whole set for stam (except for your head with stam/armor meta and agi/stam purple) and changing your shoulder, cloak, chest, weapon, shield, and glove enchants to EH will be a very noticeable upgrade. I would not worry about expertise unless you are picking a new item. If you have all triumph items, replace the black heart with the 245 armor trinket for any boss that doesn't kill you through magic damage and I'd replace your helm with the 245 triumph helm.
Then fix your spec... 54 in prot is too many (you don't need all that mana return), conviction <<< crusade, and running faster is awesome (and admittedly a preference thing). Herbing is a poo-poo profession for tanks (and I don't care for alchemy either, but that's work to replace), try mining if you have a couple hours to grind it out. You'll make some money to put towards upgrades.
As far as upgrades, I would buy the frost belt and pay for the crafted pants (if you can afford).
Of course, you don't HAVE to do these things. But they are improvements that are easily within reach.
I am looking at it from a warrior stand point and I do know gemming is the same for warrs and pallies. Expertise may be different as you stated. I am not sure about how good the pally set bonuses are, but typically badge gear will be better than t10 unless you can get it upgraded. Like it was said above, the belt will be your largest upgrade. Look at the badge gear vs t10. Determine if you will have opportunities to upgrade your t10 to ilvl 264 or 277 and go from there.
You're right in that expertise is an excellent threat stat (best for pallies, too), but every single place I can customize armor will be to increase EH. Additional threat does not matter if you're playing correctly.
T10 2 piece bonus for pallies is nice for threat but otherwise useless for survival. The 4 piece bonus is nice though (20% dodge for 12s).
I actually picked up the badge hands as my first new piece. As far as EH is concerned, the hands looked like a better step (more stam/armor by upgrading than the belt).
I'll nab the belt next as that's got a nice jump in stats too.