I made this point in the Main Discussion forum before there was a WOTR forum. Even though I enjoyed building and playing several dexterity tanks with monk, paladin, sword saint and duelist dips, plate-based tanks were substantially weaker because of the prevalence of touch AC attacks and because of the ease with which a player could acquire items that provided an enhancement bonus to multiple attributes. As someone who plays on higher difficulties, this system incentives the player not to use a plate-based tank (which I think look and are thematically cool and which let me use those awesome plate drops that I’d otherwise vendor) and to include a monk splash in every tanking build for crane style. I don’t think that the items were the underlying cause of the problem, but rather that the class design is the problem.
Instead of removing the items, I would do some combination of the following: (1) buff strength tanks by giving them Str ==> AC class traits; (2) buff strength tanks by giving them the ability to be a DR tank, either by substantially increasing DR on heavy armor and providing talents that reduce the % bonus of damage from crits (i.e., like a better version of preserved organs); (3) cap the dodge bonus from Wisdom/Charisma/Intelligence ==> AC talents by class level, i.e. you can gain +1 dodge bonus to AC from wisdom for every 2 levels (with a maximum of +10 AC at lvl 20 in the class with the AC conversion trait, plus whatever you can get from dexterity, which is usually +13/14, for a total of 24; this is roughly comparable to the +21/22 you can get from heavy armor and a shield, and requires a specific build), instead of 1 class level allowing an unlimited amount of Wisdom/Charisma to be converted into AC; (4) change the Wisdom/Charisma/Intelligence ==> to be a bit like weapon finesse/slashing grace/fencing grace and allow the player to substitute their wisdom/charisma/intelligence for dexterity instead of add the wisdom/charisma/intelligence. Of these, I like options 1 and 2 the best because they do not take-away what some people love about MAD dexterity tanks, but instead give people who want plate wearing, strength tanks to be viable. I especially like #2 because it’s lore authentic (i.e., a person in heavy metal will be easier to hit than a nimble person not weighted down by armor, but the armor will substantially reduce the damage they take), because it gives dexterity and strength tanks different roles/strengths (i.e., dexterity tanks will be better against smaller numbers of really strong hits because they are less likely to be hit and because mirror image won’t wear off as quickly, whereas strength tanks will be better against large numbers of weaker hits and have better durability throughout a long fight), and because it creates a new type of tanking style based upon DR and mitigating the magnitude of critical hits (rather than simply avoiding them). Obviously, I’m changing the PF game system, but I think it would be for the better by creating more parity among tanks and giving players a meaningful choice about which (or perhaps both) types of tanks to bring.