In the last few days I've been asked from several sources why my gemming strategy (and my gearing strategy) is so focused on stamina. I had thought I had explained it reasonably before in the Ulduar gearing guide, and I'll reprint it here:
For starters, you need to know the gearing strategies for Ulduar tanking. And they're different than Naxx:
- Heart of the Wild nerfed to 10% stamina means you need stamina more. Don't go nuts on this, but you will need to have a good amount of stamina and you'll probably have to regem some of your gear or use certain choices.
- Things hit like a semi carrying a truck carrying small missiles. Seriously, most everything hits like Patchwerk's evil big brother on meth. You can reasonably expect to take 20k-25k hits from bosses, and there are plenty of special abilities that do far more than that.
- With the loss of armor, you need EVEN MORE stamina. Seriously.
- Also, with the loss of armor, more armor is a bit better. So armor as a stat improves greatly on a lot of these fights.
- Threat is actually important for druids. Other tanking classes have much better threat now, but druids are still a bit far behind. This means that you can't just ignore hit and expertise on your gear in Ulduar; there will be fights where your threat really matters.
- DPS stats matter a little bit for SD, but not insanely so. While Savage Defense is decent, it's not a substitute for armor. 100 AP means you prevent 25 damage, which would be (from the above boss) equivalent to .125% mitigation. So don't go nuts here. But do get some. And uptime is more important than raw mitigation most of the time, so go for crit if you're going for any specific DPS stat.
- Thorim still drastically favors stamina over agility and avoidance as he steadily increases his damage; even 2k can make a difference here.
- Mimiron favors a reasonable amount of stamina to be able to use survival instincts to mitigate his P1 barrages and to simply be able to soak all that magic damage flying around.
- Freya is the same; high health is quite nice for all parts of this encounter.
- Iron Council desperately favors high stamina to soak engorged Fusion Punches.
- Yogg tanking likes having a good amount of stamina to deal with those big Immortal Guardian hits
- Vezax actually likes having some avoidance to save the healers mana. To a point.
- Acidmaw and Dreadscale both like having good amounts of HP for all that magic damage soaking, and having big HP for Icehowl can make the difference between a wipe and a miraculous save if someone screws up the ram.
- Jaraxxus is all about magic damage, which means avoidance is pointless
It's just not the stellar stat it was.
The reason is that stamina is similar to hit and expertise for DPS: once you have enough stamina, it really doesn't do much. The trick is figuring out what 'enough' is, and that's hard. Is enough when you can't be hit twice in a row without heals and die? Is that number 3? Is enough when you can take a certain amount of DPS in and live? Each encounter is different to where it's hard to evaluate, especially since this largely depends on how your healers are working to save you as well. In Naxx, for example, I recommended going strongly away from stamina since you had more than enough of it - at least until Sarth3D.
But how much stamina is enough in Ulduar hard modes? How much is enough in Coliseum? And right now, I feel like there's never a time where you can say 'yes, I'm way overstaminaed for this encounter'.
The other reason is a simple gearing philosophy that I've had since BC: Gear to your strengths, not your weaknesses. Right now, bears can have simply much higher health and higher effective health (health * mitigation) than basically any other tank, save perhaps paladins under certain circumstances. They can't have as high of avoidance. They can't have as high of threat. There's no way to beat other tanks at these things. They can't deal as well with smaller hits that come more often. They don't have the cooldowns.
But damned if they don't have huge tracts of..health.
So if you can do that, shouldn't you? There are plenty of fights (some of the ones mentioned above) where huge health has a great effect on your success rate as a tank, and can drastically change how well or poorly you do. And right now, druids get 16 health back from every point of stamina; no other tank gets even close to that.
So that's the reasoning - play to your strengths. That might make you the EH-armor-soak tank, and let other tanks have a better shot at other encounters; I personally think that's a stronger overall raid position. If you feel differently, that's great too; you know your raid best, and what works best.