There were 4 statements made in the blog and elsewhere that I kept seeing, and they were specifically incorrect as far as Icewell radiance goes. I'll go with them all Matticus style and talk about them separately.
Myth #1: other tanks can stack parry to make up for the lack of dodge.
This looks reasonable, right? I mean, sure - other tanks lose dodge, but they can just go with parry. All is good. The problem here is that very few tanks were going for any kind of avoidance anyway; they'd get what's on their gear and just stick with that for the most part, with the occasional defense/stam or dodge/stam gem thrown in for metas and socket bonuses.
Here's the important thing to understand about this change: it doesn't make dodge less valuable, it makes all avoidance less valuable. As I pointed out, all avoidance now reduces less damage overall than it used to due to having less of it. But that doesn't say dodge - it's all avoidance. You have less avoidance period - it doesn't matter how you got at that avoidance.
Furthermore, parry is as valuable before from a diminishing returns standpoint as it is now. In other words most tanks would rather stack dodge than parry because they'll get more avoidance out of it. So they can't just switch out dodge gems for parry gems (even if they had them); they'll likely lose avoidance doing that. And if they didn't lose avoidance doing that, they probably should have been doing it in the first place.
Another way to say it is this: if it takes 70 dodge rating to get 1% avoidance now, it'll take 70 dodge rating to get 1% avoidance then. If it takes 75 parry rating to get 1% avoidance now, it'll take 75 parry rating to get 1% avoidance then. Those values aren't going to change.
Myth #2: block is going to make up for it
Block is definitely more scalable with respect to the number of incoming attacks. Savage defense does lose out here. At the same time, every block tank just lost 20% avoidance. Chances are they weren't unhittable (most paladins and warriors aren't in their normal gear, even with HS up), which means that they'll be blocking the same amount of hits as before; dodge didn't push their block off the table. So they'd have to be stacking block to compensate now, if they wanted to - except they've got 20% block to stack.
That's a lot. Now, it's not subject to diminishing returns at least, but at the same time the block gear that exists out there...kinda sucks. Most Anub hardmode tanks know this pain; they're wearing a blue trinket, a bunch of random pieces from Naxx and Ulduar...do you think that gear set is going to cut it in Icecrown?
And they can't gem for block rating either. So where are they going to get all this block?
Myth #3: Bears are going to be dying more due to more hits in a row.
The idea goes like this: let's say that a tank will die in x hits in a row. Tank A, with 40% avoidance, has a (1-.4)^x chance of dying then. The druid, with 31% avoidance, has only a (1-.31)^x chance of dying - which is much greater. For 4 hits, for example, tank A would die 12.96% of the time; the bear would die 22.67% of the time. Therefore, aren't bears going to be at a big disadvantage?
Well...no. Here's the thing - this was true before, right? I mean, tank A had an advantage over druids before. But how much? The avoidance values before were 60%, so assuming you'd die in 4 hits, tank A had a 2.56% chance - and the druid had a 5.71% chance.
So yeah, the chances that a druid takes 4 hits has increased significantly (15% vs 10%). At the same time, the relative chances that this occurs has decreased significantly.
But the most important thing here is that healers cannot assume either tank is going to dodge that many hits in a row any more. Healers have to heal both tanks the same way. As I showed in the previous article, bears are actually going to take less relative damage to other tanks than they do now. What this also means is that unlike in the 2% case, healers can't assume that tank A will avoid an attack every 4 attacks. They'd be wrong 12% of the time, which means 1 out of 8 times they'd be dead.
So they have to heal tank A as if they weren't avoiding. Which means healing the druid is functionally the same.
Myth #4: Because GC said so
Ghostcrawler's said basically that if you think avoidance was good before, it'll still be good. If you think it's bad, that won't change. He's also said that EH is important but not the be-all, end all of tanking. Here's one commenter on this:
Interesting view, but I'll go with what GC has posted about Chill of the Throne. Stamina is arguably less important, avoidance is still valuable, cooldowns matter and are not easily compared, and effective health does NOT = best tank. I love that you write a lot on bears Kalon, and I'm sure you're a great bear tank. But, you seem rather set on the idea that bears are the best tanks. They aren't. They're not dominating leading progression guilds, general opinion of them is certainly not "#1 tank" and the developers don't think so either. So, can you make this your last "nerf bears because they're so awesome" post for awhile?
So why am I so high on druids?
It's not because of EH, at least not solely. It's not because of avoidance being nerfed or that I think avoidance sucks. It's that I think that relative to other tanks, druids improved significantly. Whatever you think of EH, after this change EH is better than what it was. Whatever you think of avoidance, after this change avoidance is worse than what it was. Both of these things favor druids.
Now, it's possible that icecrown has a ton of tank-stressing fights that so happen to stress high avoidance and high block values. That's a possibility, and I don't deny it; I've often said that the best tank is not determined by the tank's values, but by the encounters.
At the same time, GC's come out and said that tanks are going to be dying in Icecrown due to taking huge amounts of damage. And really - what tank is better at taking huge amounts of damage than a bear?
I'm not saying bears are the best tank. I don't know enough about Icecrown's fights to say that reasonably. But I am saying simply that these changes improve the things bears are good at and reduce the things bears are bad at. That's it. That's a far cry from most of the druid population that I read, who continually were worried that bear tanking was dead because they were losing all their dodge.
Though let's go back to that 'best tank' thing. It's true that they're not dominating progression, though I'd say that a druid MTing Anub'arak for most of the top guilds in the world indicates strongly that this isn't entirely true. General opinion is that paladins are the #1 tank...but they just lost 20% avoidance. And developers have stated things like 'we think block tanks are going to be the best tank in Ulduar because of large physical hits', and they've also stated that they're worried about druid levels of power but aren't going to nerf them significantly because there aren't enough to care.
I'd take that general opinion with a big grain of salt. I'd take what developers say with more. Basically, a high sodium diet should be in your future. :)