Or: people are really, really dumb.
This is a post designed entirely to defuse all the bad forum posters elsewhere. It's going to show every single way they're wrong and why they're wrong, and then I'll just put the link in my sig so that I never ever have to respond to them again.
If you don't like that attitude, that's understandable. I'm in a bitter mood right now after reading so much ignorance from other tanks, particularly druid tanks.
Here's the summary, in case you just want to skip ahead: Chill of the Throne is the least harmful to druids. It is a relative decrease to damage taken compared to other tanks. It also will likely make effective health more valuable, which only favors druids even more. In short, druids will be in a better position relative to other tanks than they were before this, and are in all likelihood the best overall tank in generic terms for any given encounter.
What is Icewell Radiance?
Icewell Radiance is the name a forum poster called "Chill of the Throne" - which is the real name. What's that? That's this:
For Icecrown Citadel, we are implementing a spell that will affect every enemy creature in the raid. The spell, called Chill of the Throne, will allow creatures to ignore 20% of the dodge chance of their melee targets. So if a raid's main tank had 30% dodge normally, in Icecrown Citadel they will effectively have 10%.So what does this mean? It's an effect on each mob, which means the -20% happens after all diminishing returns have been calculated. It affects everyone equally; every player loses 20% dodge, just like if you were facing someone with expertise that only worked against dodge.
Why are we doing this?
The high levels of tank avoidance players have obtained is making the incoming damage a tank DOES take more "spiky" than is healthy for raiding. Ideally, tanks would be receiving a relatively constant stream of damage over time. This allows healers to better plan their healing strategy, broaden their spell options, and simply give more time to react. Tanks could use their cooldowns more reactively. Instead, the current situation is that if we make a hard hitting melee boss and a tank doesn't avoid two successive swings then the tank could very well be dead in that 1-2 second window. The use of reactive defensive abilities instead becomes a methodically planned affair, healers have to spam their largest heals just in case the huge damage spike happens.
We've been trying to do a fair amount to mitigate the effect of high tank avoidance on the encounter side of things during this expansion with faster melee swings, additional melee strikes, dual wielding, narrowing the normal variance of melee swing damage, and various other tricks. There's a limit to what we can do, however. So to give us a bit of breathing room we’ve implemented Chill of the Throne. Going forward past Icecrown Citadel, we have plans to keep tank avoidance from growing so high again.
We'll have this on the PTR soon so players can see the effects inside Icecrown Raid.
Druid win #1: relative damage taken
Let's take a paladin and a druid for comparison's sake. These numbers are basically made up, but that won't matter (as you'll see) because they illustrate a trend. And they're fairly close to accurate anyway.
The paladin has a total of 60% avoidance. They have 10% damage reduction in general, and 62% reduction from armor.
The druid has only 51% avoidance. They have 12% damage reduction total, and 66% reduction from armor.
In terms of total damage taken over time, the paladin in this example is winning. What's their total damage taken over time? It's damage in*armor reduction*talent reduction*avoidance.
So damage = 1*(1-.62)*(1-.10)*(1-.60) = .1368. In other words, for every point of avoidable damage that comes in, they take .1368 damage out.
The druid has 1*(1-.66)*(1-.12)*(1-.51) = .1466. For every point of damage in that's avoidable, they take on average .1466 out.
That's what's the case now - a paladin has an advantage in overall damage over time. Probably more than that, honestly. But again - doesn't matter. In that case, the paladin takes 93.3% of the damage a druid does in this example.
Let's now reduce the avoidance by 20% and see what happens to the numbers:
Paladin: 1*(1-.62)*(1-.10)*(1-.40) = .2054.
Druid: 1*(1-.66)*(1-.12)*(1-.31) = .2064
They're almost identical. Not quite, but significantly closer. The paladin now takes 99.4% of the damage that a druid does.
So relatively, a druid is taking less damage than they were before compared to other tanks. This is going to hold true for all other tanks unless you were a very rare kind of druid that stacked avoidance. In some cases it'll be more pronounced than others (particularly against DKs who had high avoidance values, druids will be even more ahead) but the general trend is true: if you have less avoidance than the other tanks and everyone gets reduced the same flat amount, the tank with less avoidance will be more improved.
Druid win #2: less damage per swing
The main reason that they've done this big change is so that they can do less damage per swing while maintaining the same incoming damage per second to the tanks. So let's go through this math too.
Let's say that they wanted to have each tank take X damage per second after mitigation and debuffs and whatnot. In order to do this with avoidance being 60%, this means the incoming hits had to be X/(1-.6) , or 2.5X. If you were supposed to be taking 10k damage a second from avoidable attacks, the attacks needed to be 25000 damage/second big - which meant that you had to basically have 50k health to survive two hits in a row. That's pretty close to what things do in ToC now and what the thresholds are.
But now? The same X damage with 40% avoidance means the damage per second only needs to be 1.67x. Now, you can take 3 hits in a row with that 50k health, but it's more likely you'll be hit.
So everything's the same, right? Well...not exactly. The thing is that if things hit for 25k each, no tank can take 3 hits in a row. That's 75k. That's nuts. But reduce how much damage each hit is, and suddenly druids start having advantages due to their higher health potential. As I showed earlier, druids already have huge health leads over other tanks. 10k health. But 10k health doesn't matter when everyone dies in 3 hits.
10k matters a lot more when that means a druid can die in 4 while other tanks die in 3. Again, using those numbers from above - the best geared warrior has 59k health abouts. The best geared druid has 69k. That would directly mean a druid would be able to take one more hit that wasn't avoided without a single heal.
That's a big deal.
Especially when they have less of a reason to even care about avoidance and want to go for armor and stamina above all else. Which brings me to #3.
Druid win #3: not caring as much about avoidance
The idea behind diminishing returns on avoidance is the same as the one behind armor - while the absolute value per point of avoidance goes down as you get more of it, the relative value stays the same.
So for example: if I avoid 50% of attacks, getting another 1% avoidance reduces my relative damage by 2% - instead of taking 50 attacks every 100, I take 49, and (50-49)/50 = 2%.
But let's take 20% dodge off there. Now, that same 1% avoidance - which remember, costs the same as it did before - now makes me go from 30 to 31%. Which means that instead of taking 70 hits, I take 69. That's only a 1.4% improvement in incoming damage taken - or about a loss of 40% effectiveness.
So this makes avoidance about 30-40% less valuable than it was before. Think about that in terms of the gearing too.
Druid win #4: druids still rock with stamina
Note that all the above applies to every tank. They're all not liking avoidance as much as they did before. They're all thinking they can get more hits without dying. They're all thinking that avoidance isn't the way to go. They're all going for even more stamina than they were before - if possible.
But druids win here, again. Druids get 16 points of health per every 1 point of stamina. No other tank gets close to this - only blood tanks vaguely get close to druid levels of health, and only paladins get close to this level of scaling (and they're about 14 per stamina point). Druids have continually gained more health per tier than any other tank. This trend isn't going to cease. So in the world where avoidance is blind, the stamina/armor tank is king.
So to speak.
Druid win #5: magic damage too!
So avoidance is worse, druids are better relative to other tanks, and they want more stamina. Traditionally one way to balance high avoidance values was via magical or unavoidable damage. But guess what - stamina aids that too.
And if that weren't enough, druids can fairly easily keep high levels of health while using resistance gear, as has been shown with some success a couple times in the past. So that means that even if they decide to throw stupid amounts of magic damage around, the best tank to deal with magic damage most of the time is...a druid.
So this is all awesome, right? What could go wrong?
Well, druids do lose some effectiveness of savage defense; it won't be up nearly as often with less avoidance. However, other tanks lose a similar amount of damage reduction this way (save DKs) so that's kinda a wash.
If there are fights like Anub'arak that favor shield tanks due to incredible amounts of quick attacks, they'll still favor block tanks. Similarly, fights that favored avoidance before will favor avoidance now, though not to the degree they did.
And as has been shown repeatedly in WotLK, one of the biggest things is cooldown use - and druids still have less oomph with their cooldowns than other tanks.
Note that I don't think that this will mean druids will be able to be so awesome that they'll allow taking fewer healers or taking fewer tanks because of their awesomeness. Maybe. If there's a fight like I described where a druid can take one more hit before dying than other tanks, this may be feasible; healers who can cast efficient, big heals are going to love druids. But it certainly means that if there are EH benchmarks that tanks must hit before moving on, druids are almost certainly going to be the first ones there.
Honestly? I suspect that we'll see a nerf to druids early on in Icecrown. Maybe even sooner.
But until that nerf happens? Druids rock, baby, and this nerf is secretly a druid plot to rule Icecrown.