Mitigation vs. Avoidance
My favorite tank, Chuman, says that avoidance has become really important for RoK tanking. Since he's MT for Lineage, who have successfuly cleared Veeshan's Peak, he has some credibility with regard to raid tanking.
Chuman, self-buffed, has avoidance of about 70%. I take nothing away from Chuman, he's a good player, and is using what's available to great success. Good for him. But I find that this indicates that something in the game is fundamentally unfair to the brawlers. You know, the "avoidance" tanks.
There are a lot of ways to increase avoidance for plate tanks. Shields, AA's, and items with boosts to avoidance skills are all possible. There is no such option for leather-wearing brawlers to get their mitigation up. There is a combination of effects in RoK that make brawlers very likely to get one-shotted, not just on raids, but vs. instance nameds, too.
- Mitigation in RoK has ticked downward off its normal path. (See this chart).
- Mobs can now double-hit and crit, and also get "extra big" non-critical hits.
- Mobs in RoK swing slower but hit harder.
A tank has two jobs: Keep the attention of the mob, and take the resulting pounding. Healers need to keep you up, but spike damage is more of a problem for healers than the "death of a thousand cuts".
Overall, incoming damage is reduced by not getting hit, and by mitigating the damage when you do get hit. So speaking math-wise, over all damge reduction is the product of mitigation and avoidance. As an example, let's consider Chuman versus a level 80 mob. With 70% avoidance, he gets hit 30 percent of the time. With 55% mitigation, he takes only 45% of the damage output from those hits. So Chuman actually takes, and must be healed of, .30*.45 = 13.5% of "potential" incoming damage.
The best brawlers, with Fabled raid gear, seem to get to about 37 percent mitigation. So, they feel .53 of each hit. In order to match Chuman and take the same fraction of potential incoming damage, such a brawler would have to have avoid (hmm, scribble scribble scribble) .134/.53 = 75% of all incoming hits.
Ok, that's feasible. With gear and adornments focused on avoidance skills, and in defensive stance, a brawler ought to be able to get to 75% avoidance. The problem with defensive stance is that it is enough of a hit to offensive skills that brawlers will have difficulty holding aggro of the mob in defensive stance.
The other problem is that there are a lot more spikes that will kill you at 35% mitigation than at 55% mitigation. This suggests that to tank successfully as a bruiser, I need to focus on getting lots of health, and group with a shaman for the wards. Wards will typically stay up longer on me, since I avoid more hits (though not a lot).
The situation isn't as dire as I thought, yet I see very few bruisers being MT. We have a lot of interesting skills to offer, namely temporary immunity to stun, mez, root, etc. and temporary immunity to spells as well. Not to mention Sonic Fist and Feign Death, two of the coolest pulling tools ever invented.
Last weekend, we were doing an Unrest run for Hassaan's Guardian epic. We ended up doing a lot of feign death breaking to pull just the shards we needed to gather Garanel's bones. Boy, that took me back to the days I played an EQ1 monk and we'd do FD pulling and breaking all the time.