When I first heard about the change to active mitigation I was worried about it and how it would work out. For those that do not know what active mitigation is I will give an over simplified expansion.
Old school: Gear for dodge, have 30% dodge all the time. New school: Use a button that gives you 60% dodge on demand, but it is not always available. Yes, there is a lot more to it, but that should give an example for the people that know nothing about it.
When I heard about this the immediate thought that passed through my head was that tanks in randoms would never use their active mitigation buttons and because of the lack of passive mitigation, the avoidance that is always there, they would get hit for a ton more. I also felt that this would add a level of difficulty to tanking that would make it annoying to play for many or impossible to learn for some.
Everything I worried about turned out to be true but not one of those things was "the sky is falling" sort of bad I was expecting it could turn out to be. At least for random content. As I do not pug all that often and my guild tanks, which I am one of, all know how to play, the only representation I can say I have seen is from the LFR and LFD and I make my judgements based on that.
From my own tanking experience I am loving active mitigation and that is no surprise. I knew I would. I said I would. I was looking forward to it. It gives me the ability to choose my play style a great deal more when playing my tank and that is fantastic.
Now when I tank a dungeon I can base how I play on the group I am with. If I am with a solid DPS crew, everyone over 100K, and a fairly capable healer, I do not need to worry one bit about using my active mitigation. Perhaps a rare cooldown here or there but that is it. I can chain pull until my heart is content. Yesterday was the perfect example. We did 4 heroics in 40 minutes. As I said before, heroics are faster than scenarios. I find that kind of humorous being scenarios are supposed to be the super short things you can do faster than a heroic. But that is another story all together.
It helped I was in a guild group where everyone could do over 140K and the healer was an excellent healer. Heck, if she DPSed too we might have gotten it down to 9 minutes per run instead of 10.
See, that is the beauty of active mitigation. My DPS, and as such, my aggro generation, was a lot higher because I did not have to worry about mitigation. That old 60% dodge my druid used to have because it was passive and I needed it was now all allocated to DPS and aggro generation stats because I no longer needed to stack up stats for mitigation, I now had a slew of buttons for it.
When I run I see the group and what they are capable of at the beginning of the run. I've had runs where I was using all my cooldowns all the time because things were going down too slow or the healer was new and/or woefully geared and there is nothing wrong with that, we all start somewhere. I've had runs where I had to do a mix and match of a little extra DPS or a little active mitigation. Tanking for me was no longer what it always had been. Stand there and get beat on and hope not to die. Sure, I always contributed by doing damage but that always felt more like it was bonus damage, now if feels like it is part of the group.
It is fun running scholo and challenging the DPS in my guild to beat me. There are two rooms in there I can easily break 300K on, while still using my active mitigation, and it is fun to be able to do damage and avoid damage all at the same time thanks to having all my abilities at by beck and call. Before the fun of a pull like that was, can I survive it. Now the fun of a pull like that is, can I survive it and beat all the damage dealers while doing it. Darn survival hunter did 520K DPS and beat me. :(
It turned tanking, for me at least, from a one trick pony into something that can be done on various different levels. Work at full mitigation mode, full damage dealing mode, or a mix and match of both depending on need. Tanking is really active now because you are always adjusting to the needs of the situation. I am loving it. So from a tanking perspective if I am the tank, yes, I believe active mitigation has worked. I am enjoying tanking more than I ever have.
From a learning perspective I think it does make tanking a little more involved. Check that, a lot more involved. Avoiding damage by using abilities has become as important to a tank as using abilities to heal or deal damage are to healers and DPS. No longer can they just get by letting the system handle their avoiding. Not saying they could before in some content but for a majority anyone could put on tank gear and made sure they were gemmed and enchanted and reforged for avoidance and they would be good to go. Not so any more because of active mitigation.
However, this made questing as a tank better. Tanks learn to use their cooldowns while questing to keep themselves alive so it becomes more habit for them. Even more so then in the past. In the past those cooldowns were oh shit buttons, the help I am about to die buttons, the only use them for the big hit buttons. Now with active mitigation and the fact there are so many available for all tanks and many are on short cooldowns they become part of the every day for a person out in the world questing as a tank. They learn to use them on their own because it is worth using them. It is no longer something you save until you need it, you use it before you need it so you will never need it.
While there will still be people, many I am sure, that will have issues grasping it, active mitigation is much more user friendly to learn because it is something you do, not something that is just there. So yes, tanking is a lot more involved now which makes it more complex than it had been but those cooldowns are more useful which makes them part of the every day game play for players now meaning they are more likely to learn what they are used for. So in this case, yes, active mitigation has worked.
How about teaching new players to tank? How about knowing how to tank but not having any tanking gear? Thanks to active mitigation anyone can become a tank now, if a person knows how to rotate cooldowns and what they do.
You could be in 100% DPS gear. A few lessons and some easy content like a heroic or two and I can turn any damage dealer into a tank. They might need a tank weapon and a shield if they are a shield tank but they can tank as good as anyone else in all DPS gear now. At least for content like a heroic. All thanks to active mitigation.
Where it used to be a tank with tank gear would have 50%-60% passive mitigation, even when first stepping into a random, now they might only have 15%-20%. So before, losing 60% hurt a ton and that is why you really needed tanking gear to tank but now losing 20% is not so bad, as long as you keep that active mitigation rolling and control your pulls. It gives tanks more chances to get geared because if you are using some DPS pieces it isn't really going to kill you like it could have before.
That means, as I see it, active mitigation has made it easier for someone to step into tanking, to make that transition. They do not need to completely assemble a new set of gear, just switch specs and read up on it and you should be fine. So in this case, active mitigation has worked.
About the only issue I have with active mitigation thus far is as a healer. Anyone that has healed a random and had a tank go from 100% to 0 in less then the time it takes to cast a flash heal will tell you that many tanks completely ignore their active mitigation. One little button could make it easy as sin, you could stay near 100% all the time with some heals and one cooldown but without it you are dead in less than 2 seconds.
It has happened to me twice while healing a random so far this expansion and I am sure it has happened to people that heal more often that I dozens of times. Tank pulls an entire room, I start to cast my heal, they are dead before the heal comes off. Come on people, you do not even need to use a big cooldown, anything would have kept you alive.
Looking for raid is a place where you can really notice the tanks from the tank wannabe that can't even be bothered to read their abilities or figure out what active mitigation means. You do not even need to be a healer to notice it. You can tell just watching life bars which tanks are really tanks. Wow oh wow I wonder why so many people that are not tanks queue as tanks for the LFR when the wait time for a tank is insane.
So as a healer I do not like active mitigation. Before active mitigation I used to have a saying about DKs. DK tanks are easy to read if they are good or bad. I can tell on the first pull how the entire run will be based on how much damage the tank takes.
Being DKs were the only ones that used active mitigation for the most part back then it was easy to tell. It used to be when I saw a DK tank I would watch that first pull and then decide on if this was going to be one of "those" runs or not. Now it is every tank. Before achievement mitigation I could heal any tank, no problem. As long as they had tank gear on, there would be enough passive mitigation that even if they did not know how to use any cooldowns it was no big deal.
Unless you have an OP group, like my guild group was, you can not get away with a tank never using any cooldowns. If you happened to be a fresh healer starting out, just hit 90, and you have a crew of damage dealers that can not even top 30K, the fights will go on for a long time and if the tank does not use any active mitigation it is wipe city. That is just the way it is. No way around that.
Even with my OP group for that content, I still used barkskin on those pulls. I still popped a FR if I took a damage spike. I still made sure to use my dodge trinket and dodge cooldown. So even when I say I did it without cooldowns, I don't mean without without. I just mean without concentrating on them outside of the first few seconds of the pull when they were still needed. So even when doing it with all the right parts, the tanks still need to use their active mitigation and as a healer you will notice instantly if they do not. There just is not enough passive mitigation to get by any more.
So from a healers standpoint, active mitigation has not worked. Sure, when used it makes my life a dream but when not it is a nightmare. From a healers perspective I would like to see constant mitigation passively because there are too many tanks out there that just do not know what active mitigation is. However, I will be first to admit is not nearly as bad as I was expecting. It does seem like the majority of tanks, at least the ones I have run into, have embraced the active mitigation model.
All in all I would have to say active mitigation has worked to make tanking fun. But I am still not that impressed with it as a healer.
Do you think the active mitigation model has worked?