(First draft in progress)
There's so much to say about stats and mechanics that this is sure to be a series. For the most part I am imagining that my audience is new to EQ2. But I'm also using it as a refresher for myself because so much has changed since I was playing regularly a few years ago. If you've been playing a while, you probably have more memorized about stats than can be found online, about EQ2.
All games have some stats/mech mystery, but EQ2 has the most secretive system of stats I've encountered. It also changes, often without warning. Since I'm an underachiever, the changes are of casual interest to me. But as an underachiever, my perspective clears up the difference between "must have" and "would be nice" stats. The most obvious way this shows is that if you're not raiding, my advice is to take all the "you must have stat x at level y" stuff with a big grain of salt.
The meaning of Defensive Statistics, A Mage Example - Coercer
To some extent, Mages have the simplest skillset. They cannot block or parry,and use only their base mitigation ever, so not even buffs to defense make any difference (I've tested that, defense adorns have no visible effect on anything, but it could be a stealth statistic so if you know for sure, please comment). Many years ago I could solo heroic zones with a mage and lots of defense adorns (I think parry also, but I am no longer sure). They also fit on more pieces of equipment. In ordinary Skyshrine (not an instance), if the tank died, my Warklock could hold the mobs until the healer finished the rez. Defense did more for mages in the past, now it is not so.
This is a very simply geared Coercer, and very much neglected, really. Epic 2.0 is not complete, and neither has she done the KA timeline yet. She joins the PQ's occasionally and that's about all for now. Still the example shows how far you can go with just purchased gear, and a little luck at the PQs. She doesn't have her mercenary active right now, these are her solo stats and gear.
First in the defenses, you will notice that sometimes a piece of gear will have block but otherwise it is helpful. The mage can never block, so the tooltip is misleading. Also nothing will move the parry above 0% in Avoidance. If you want to be sure, ask, is there a Parry skill? No? Then any Parry adorn is a waste. Ditto for block, but that's harder to tell. Afaik, the only way to be sure your character can block is to know if they can equip a shield or if they are a brawler class. At this point, Uncontested Block is the real chance you have of blocking anything. There are two numbers because previously there was a contested mechanic which is not not in use. (although I'm not sure if it still applies in old zones)
Another note about defenses, many times you come across an adorn that says "Increases Riposte by 5" or some other number. Note that if your class is able to Parry, then your Riposte and Parry chances are equal unless modified by a skill or gear/adorn. It works like this: first you Parry, then you have a chance to convert it into a Riposte. Since my coercer cannot parry, riposte will not help her.
There are two things to notice about mage mitigation and resistance, first the cap seems to be 75% according to the tooltips, and second, it is giving you the statistic for a level 100 creature. Not even Advanced Solo mobs in AoM expansion are level 100, although the cap is 75%, it will be lower for level 107 mobs which are normally encountered in KA. Or to be more precise, if you over cap this a bit, you might still mitigate 75% of damage against some mobs of higher level. I'd certainly expect that to be true of "trash" mobs in Solo zones.
Damaging and DPS expectations - Coercer Continued
(this part is a stub and I'll expand it soon) https://forums.daybreakgames.com/eq2/index.php?threads/theres-something-im-not-understanding-about-combat-mitigation.574795/#post-6398018
As you can see, my coercer is lagging far behind the better geared players in damaging potential. The price of not playing heroic content with an alt is that they lose the ability to just jump in and play with groups, no matter what the Resolve statistic says. Another place where she is lacking is in using tithe points. Tithe points can be used to increase the benefit you get from your gear, so since she has not been played much, her points are lower and the buff she currently gets to Potency is only about 3%. Anyone who's been playing longer has at least a 10% buff to their Potency from tithe.
(stubs: what is "autoattack" for a mage - beyond the ranged weapon - layering spells - Coercer perpetuity)
A little about why you should always have more than 100% casting speed... mobs and zones can debuff it, having extra is just smart. It get repeated so often that "over 100% buff for casting/reuse/etc speed is a waste, that many people believe it. As a coercer,this is not the character that "feels it" most when speeds are debuffed. It's the templar, the mystic, the healers that feel it worst when speeds get debuffed. Especially if you're healing, don't believe the hype, go for 200% or 150 at least. Also beware of "Recovering..." traps. Many charms that need activation not only cast incredibly slowly but will affect things cast before or after with a much longer Recovery requirement. That's just my experience, I don't think I've seen it documented.
Resolve VS Potency =
If you notice, most equipment has both a resolve and a potency statistic. These two are linked irrevocably, and can be misused in a way such as this:
Resolve is essential for some fights, and it will probably in the future prevent such things as solo-grinding epic zones for fun. The reason is, that you get a Resolve buff from companions, and it's raid-wide. Without that buff, your resolve will basically mark you as weak and you take additonal damage. This is similar to the raid debuffs from Destiny of Velious that "reduced the confidence" of raid mobs, but it is automatic and has other features. A good rule of thumb is, never sacrifice potency for resolve.