It would be safe to say that, though active mitigation has flopped as an interesting mechanic gameplay wise, it’s definitely succeeded in providing gearing options and marking the difference between a good tank and a bad one. As it turns out, Blizzard managed to make hit and expertise, traditional threat statistics, viable for warriors who wanted to make the most of their active mitigation. The problem (assuming you wish to call it one) is that you’ll have noticed I haven’t mentioned dodge or parry yet.
That’s because nobody’s actively chasing either of them.
The savage defence of avoidance?
Throughout Cataclysm, neither warriors nor paladins were much interested in dodge and parry; you certainly didn’t chase avoidance. Now, granted, that’s because combat table coverage made mastery more attractive than it really was. But with the rise of hit and expertise providing mitigation that you can control, rather than RNG, it’s really no secret why traditional avoidance has been viewed unfavourably for the better part of three years.
The thing is, this has gone a stage further in Mists. Paladins, our shield-toting cousins, now benefit from Sanctity of Battle (I think) and are getting real benefit from gearing for haste. Hit and expertise is one thing, but haste is a legitimate “DPS stat” in the truer sense of the term yet we’ve now got tanks going for it. Amusingly, they’re not the only ones interested in haste, as the Brewmaster also values it highly as part of their mitigation kit. The other bastion of melee DPS gearing, critical strike, has also been seen as valuable by the wobbly addition to the tanking pantheon, and nobody should forget what Savage Defence used to do in the expansions prior to running amongst pandas.
My point here is that if haste and critical strike are being seen as legitimate gearing options for tanks (along with mastery, hit and expertise), while dodge and parry are the first candidates for reforging off your gear, is there a credible argument for keeping dodge and parry around?
Honestly? I’m just not sure there is.
The gearing problem.
I suppose it could be argued that more gear sharing would be bad for the game, but I don’t view that as very compelling. Rogues, Feral druids and Windwalker monks are already competing with their tanks for leather, depending on the exact stats, and things like socket bonuses can still make items more desirable for certain specs. We haven’t seen any avoidance on a strength one-hander throughout MoP, and I don’t know of any paladins or warriors that are subsequently choosing to put it on there. Why not just go the whole hog?
Hell, from a purely selfish standpoint, it’d have saved some of the gear I ended up buying for Fury when my main spec changed midway through the tier. And given how difficult this tier has been for so many guilds trying to build a solid team, I can’t imagine I’m the only person that ended up in this boat.
It’ll be interesting to see how commentary on this develops into the expansion. To an extent, there’s every chance warriors will end up looking for avoidance as an absolute last resort if they’re easily hitting their hit and expertise caps, and mastery isn’t an option, but that’s not “choice”; that’s resignation. Even Ghostcrawler himself has recently said on Twitter that he’s thrilled with the way paladins have reacted to Sanctity of Battle, so it seems clear that was the design intent.
So, here’s the question for anyone reading:
Is there an objective reason to keep dodge and parry around?
I can’t see it, but I suspect a few of you will have already wrestled with this.