Defense is being removed from the game entirely. Tanking classes should expect to become uncrittable versus creatures just by shifting into Defensive Stance, Frost Presence, Bear Form, or by using Righteous Fury.
Awesome. We'd heard about this before, but not simply from shifting stances! Defense was always a confusing stat, and I never understood why it was on gear. It has always been a major barrier to entry for tanks. Making their gearing much more straightforward will help the game a lot, and hopefully shorten LFD queues. It also makes it viable for a geared dps to handle tanking duties in a pinch, or using an incomplete patchwork of dps and tanking gear while gearing up.
Weapon Skill - This stat will be removed from the game completely. Classes will start with all the weapon skills they need to know and will not need to improve them.
OMG BEST CHANGE IN WOW HISTORY!!!!!1! No more grinding for hours to level a weapon skill!!!!! No more randoms in LFD skilling up their new weapon during my dungeon runs! YES!! With this, we watch some of the last vestiges of Tigole's World of Everquest fall away, and it's undoubtedly for the better.
Gems - We are changing the gem colors of a few stats as a result of these adjustments. For example, Hit is likely to be blue instead of yellow.
What? Blue gems not being useless to dps? Where do I sign up?
Ratings will be steeper in Cataclysm, and creatures in later tiers of content will be harder to hit or crit, similar to how level-83 mobs are harder to hit or crit than level-80 mobs.
Intriguing. Does this mean most people will never cap out hit and expertise? Or will it just be a crappy implementation where most of our stats are wasted when going back to older content? For instance, if I have 8% hit cap for Deathwing, will I be overcapped at like 20% for the boss two tiers below him?
Armor Penetration becomes Haste or Crit.
Crap. That's gonna hurt. Hopefully this patch won't apply until just before Cata. Or it will be accompanied by talent tree changes that make me no longer love armor pen so much. Who knows?
The only downside to this post is that it will renew all the wishful-thinkery about Cata's release date. Just because they posted some more info does not mean Cata "must be mere months away!" Enjoy free epics from the Ruby Dragonshrine until at least October, everyone!