This brings mitigation stats back to the forefront, especially with the brand new ability Shield Barrier. While tanking your major choice is between two spells: our old friend Shield Block costs 60 rage [lol totally called it] and makes you CTC capped for 6 seconds; Shield Barrier will consume 20 to 60 rage and grants you a damage absorption shield based on your Attack Power multiplied by the amount of rage consumed.
The obvious conclusion is that since Block mitigates a percentage of incoming damage and Barrier is a fixed amount*, there will always be a break point in incoming damage where for anything higher it is better to use Block, and anything lower to use Barrier.
[*though scaling with attack power means that incoming damage is a factor in the absorb size due to Vengeance]
My experience doing Dragon Soul this week has been for Barrier to “feel” better in most situations. The only time I felt like I needed Block was while tanking Warmaster Blackhorn. I attribute this mainly to overgearing the content, so incoming damage for the most part would have likely been below the aforementioned break point, not to mention the amount of mechanics in DS that deal magic damage [on which Shield Block no longer has any effect]. Banking rage to use Barrier in anticipation of large bursts of predictable damage feels amazing.
As I mentioned before, the inability to CTC cap makes mitigation stats relevant again. I swapped my Stamina trinkets for dodge and mastery, and changed a buttload of stam gems back to mastery and parry. Because any mitigation effects are applied before the shield absorb, gearing for mitigation makes Barrier even more effective for general use. I have to wonder whether Mastery will be less of a wonder-stat moving forward if its major benefit of smoothing damage can be replicated with intelligent Barrier use.
Yesterday I heard that Prot Warriors will be getting buffs to passive damage reduction, active mitigation by way of increased rage generation, as well as a minor buff to damage. Didn’t realise we needed buffing, but happy enough to hear my class is getting more powerful.