First thing I want to talk about is gemming. Gone are the days of throwing nothing but stamina in our gear. It's true that we still benefit from stam very well, and that a large health pool is nothing to scoff at, but it isn't the king of the road it used to be. Avoidance is actually a very acceptable way to gem or enchant yourself. I would never say to forsake stamina completely, and I would never say to forsake avoidance completely either. Perhaps I should start the same place that I started.
(Post edit: SIGH!! Some of my numbers were off originally, so i'm fixing them now)
Last night I ran heroic deadmines, and picked up these (Heroic VanCleef's Boots), and I was debating which gem I should throw in them. As you can see, it has a yellow socket, with a 10 agility socket bonus.
The way I figured, I had two choices: a 20 Dodge Rating/30 Stam gem that would give me the 10 agility socket bonus, or a 60 stamina gem to completely ignore the socket bonus.
After playing around with a lot of circumstances in my head, I decided to pull out a piece of scratch paper and do some math, in hopes that it would help me decide what I would benefit from more.
1 Agility grants all of these to properly talented, unbuffed druids in bear form:
2.65 attack power
.0031% crit chance
1 stamina grants to properly talented, unbuffed druids in bear form:
So, to put this in perspective, my two different gems:
60 stamina gem:
or 20 dodge rating/30 stam gem (with 10 agility socket bonus):
.031% crit chance
26.5 attack power
Now, we can break these stats down a bit more. Keep in mind that agility and stamina are also modified by Mark of the Wild, adding an additional 5% to them, but that's not something we're looking at right now. At level 85 65.12 dodge rating = 1%, so by socketing that dodge rating gem, and getting the 10 agi socket bonus you gain almost a full half-percent of dodge. I think that the dodge/stam gem is the better choice because it just offers more benefit per point of itemization than socketing for pure stamina.
Now then, let's look at another piece where the decision is, in my opinion, significantly harder.
Sly Fox Jerkin, picked up from Guardians of Hyjal with a revered reputation. As you can see, this item has 2 sockets, a red and a blue, with a socket bonus of 20 mastery rating. Now, the blue socket should definitely get a 60 stamina gem, there's no question there... The red socket is the questionable one. The way I see it, you have 3 different options:
60 stamina gem, ignoring the socket bonus.
40 agility gem for the socket bonus.
20 agility/30 stamina gem for the socket bonus.
We'll just look at the red socket, and see what benefit you would get from each gem... We'll take for granted that all of these are considered unbuffed and in bear form.
60 stam = 1021 health
40 agi = 106 attack power, .14% dodge, .12% crit, 20 mastery rating,
20 agi/30 stam = 53 attack power, .07% dodge, .06% crit, 20 mastery rating, 511.5 health.
20 mastery rating (from the socket bonus) comes out to .11 mastery... which really isn't a whole lot. I think this is more of a personal judgement call. After putting the stats in here, I don't necessarily feel like the pure agility gem is a worthwhile call, bringing it down to pure health, or health + avoidance with a smidgen of mastery. I actually feel like the 20 agi/30 stam is the right call to make, but as I said, this is really a much more difficult call to make, and is entirely up to you.
Socket bonuses to avoid +critical strike rating, +haste, and other overly garbage stats like that.
These do NOT include the profession-specific enchants (inscription shoulder enchants, leatherworking bracer enchants, etc)
In cases where there's two listed, they're not necessarily in any order. They're just equally acceptable enchants, or (in the case of the weapon enchants) ones where I would need more information to pick between the two.
Head slot - Arcanum of the Earthen Ring - Earthen Ring - Revered
Shoulder - Greater Inscription of Unbreakable Quartz - Therazane Exalted (Lesser one at honored)
Legs - Charscale Leg Armor - Leatherworking
Boots - Earthen Vitality
Bracers - Dodge
Cloak - Protection