Medium armor needs to be tweaked

Medium armor is the best at high levels, and the worst at low levels.  This can and should be easily fixed.

Take a look at the armor tables in the playtest packet and run the numbers.  Let's assume light armor wearers have at least a +3 dex to begin with and a +5 by the time they pick up Mithral (lets face it, they are all going to build DEX at every opportunity), and that medium armor wearers will have at least a +1 dex to start and a +2 by the time they pick up Dragon Scale (again a conservative assumption).

Light armor:
Average at 1 = 11+3 = 14
Max at 1 = 11+4 = 15

Medium armor:
Average at 1 = 13+1 = 14
Max at 1 = 13+2 = 15

Heavy Armor:
Everybody has 14

Ok, that works out more or less OK.  Heavy armor wearers aren't locked into building DEX, so the fact that they're a tad behind is ok.  Medium armor wearers get a bit of an advantage though in that it's a lot easier to achieve that 15 (a starting +4 DEX requires you play a human with the big bump in DEX and a class bump in DEX, a +2 just requires you make it your second best stat).  But then take a look at high levels

Light armor: 13+5=18
Medium armor: 15+2=17 
Heavy armor: 18

See the problem?  Medium armor is the best at low levels, but the worst at high levels.  Should we be encouraging people to swap armor types halfway through a campaign?  Shouldn't we try to make armor types equally good at all levels, at least for those spending the resources to get the most out of it?   Even if we want divergence for some reason, is there any reason it should be medium armor that starts off best and ends up worst?

Solution: Reduce studded leather's base AC to 12 (it was too much better than leather anyway), and increase dragon scale's max DEX to 3.  Then everybody has a max AC of 14 to start (except human rogues/light-weapon fighters, and that's enough of a corner case for me not to worry about it).  Everybody has an AC of 18 at the end.  Medium armor wearers need to build more DEX than heavy armor wearers but less than light armor wearers.  Everything works out right.  You may want to then add a 75gp medium armor with a base of 13 to keep up with the other two in the mid-heroic range: maybe chain shirt.  
I think they tried to compensate at the high end by having dragonscale grant an elemental immunity. That's not at all a bad thing.

Also, though, I think you're discounting the fact that the medium armor guy hasn't had to invest anything to get that 17. The light armor wearer needs to pump his Dex up to 20, while the heavy armor wearer is slow, can't stealth, and anyway needed proficiency to get it.

My own preference would be to put a +3 max dex cap on shields. In part that's because it seems weird to think of a super-dex based character relying on a shield, but it also helps fix the problem you're pointing to. With a shield, they would top out at 18/18/19, which seems reasonable to me.
personally i am against the highest heavy armour having the same value as the best ac from light armour.
afterall, there is no better defense than not getting hit
Yeah, I really dislike the new armor system.  I hate that the de facto best AC comes from Heavy Armor.  And Medium Armor makes Dexterity a crap stat--you only ever need 14 Dex to have the best AC without a Stealth/Speed penalty (at least until you get into the realm of 20 Dex, which, so far, can't happen until level 8 at least.
Medium armor needs to be removed.
 
Yeah, I really dislike the new armor system.  I hate that the de facto best AC comes from Heavy Armor.  And Medium Armor makes Dexterity a crap stat--you only ever need 14 Dex to have the best AC without a Stealth/Speed penalty (at least until you get into the realm of 20 Dex, which, so far, can't happen until level 8 at least.

But dex is usefull for other things, such as ranged attacks and stealth.  Dex should not be a superstat that every class needs to survive.  The fact that heavy armour gives you the best AC seems logical; it is pricey and causes you to lose out on mobility.  Also, realistically, unless you are super humanly quick, how will a person in leather compare in defense to somebody in full plate?
Yeah, I really dislike the new armor system.  I hate that the de facto best AC comes from Heavy Armor.  And Medium Armor makes Dexterity a crap stat--you only ever need 14 Dex to have the best AC without a Stealth/Speed penalty (at least until you get into the realm of 20 Dex, which, so far, can't happen until level 8 at least.

But dex is usefull for other things, such as ranged attacks and stealth.  Dex should not be a superstat that every class needs to survive.  The fact that heavy armour gives you the best AC seems logical; it is pricey and causes you to lose out on mobility.  Also, realistically, unless you are super humanly quick, how will a person in leather compare in defense to somebody in full plate?


as i said above, the best defense is not getting hit
I'll admit I hadn't noticed that dragonscale granted an elemental immunity.  But I'd still rather see it on par with light and heavy but grant light and heavy their own cool add-on - immunity to criticals, DR, something like that.  Elemental immunity is really useful when you're fighting something that does elemental damage, but 9 fights out of 10 you've got the wrong element if there's any element being thrown around at all.  And even in the one fight where you're immune to fire and your fighting fire elementals, it's kind of a bore to just be invincible.  I'd sooner grab the +1 all the time over the occassionally useful but boring.

As to disadvantage on stealth and slower movement: 1) I've played a lot of D&D, and have almost never found myself wishing my move speed was 30' instead of 25' (or been glad that it was).  It just doesn't come up that often IME.  2) you were going to be pretty bad at stealth anyway.  3) you get compensated by the fact that you don't have to build DEX.  This is why I suggested dragon scale have a max dex of 3, instead of a base of 16: you have to invest something into dex to get an AC equal to the heavy armor guy.  

The light armor guy has to invest more in DEX than the medium armor guy, yes, BUT THIS IS NOT A DOWNSIDE FOR HIM.  You don't wear light unless you're a dex based character.  You were going to build DEX to the max anyway to boost your attack with finesse and ranged weapons and to improve all the DEX skills you probably want to be good at with that character.  The medium armor wearer could have left his DEX at 10, put on heavy armor, and built CON and gotten loads of extra HP.  The light armor wearer could put on medium, but he'd still have to build DEX, so he shouldn't have to give up AC for the privilege.  It seems to me that the decision of whether to play your fighter as a STR/CON heavy armor wearer, a STR/DEX medium armor wearer, or a DEX/STR light armor wearer shouldn't affect your combat effectiveness.

As for your shield idea, it makes a certain amount of sense.  It would be the equivalent of older edition armor check penalties - shields do slow you down.  I'm not especially happy about using it as an AC equalizer, since it has other drawbacks in the form of not being able to use two-handed weapons.  Of course, then we're looking into the can of worms that is the suckiness of finesse weapons canceling out the necessity of using one-handed weapons to keep your AC up.  I'd sooner fix finesse weapons and two weapon fighting and then make shield vs. two (handed) weapon into an AC vs. DPS question instead of just assuming that all light armor wearers have chosen AC.  I don't like heavy armor being the strictly superior option, and I don't think encumberance makes up for it.  

AlmightyK: still not getting you.  Are you trying to suggest light armor should have the highest max AC? 

Storyteller: actually, across levels your AC is generally as good or better with light armor than heavy (heavy might pull ahead briefly when you get chain, depending on when that is and how high your DEX is).  Yes you can't have a DEX of 20 until 8th level, but you probably can't have full plate until then either.   And Medium armor only makes DEX crap if you don't care about DEX saves and DEX skills, which are at least as numerous as saves and skills for any of the other stats.  At worst, it's making DEX a little more on par with stats like INT WIS CHA.  
But dex is usefull for other things, such as ranged attacks and stealth.

There is a Strength ranged weapon (throwing axe), meaning Dex is really only useful for saves and skills, leaving it as less useful and important than Wisdom--about on par with Charisma and Intelligence.  

Dex should not be a superstat that every class needs to survive.

I want every stat to be important for every class.  Charisma and Intelligence are weak and the new armor system makes Dex weak, too.

The fact that heavy armour gives you the best AC seems logical; it is pricey and causes you to lose out on mobility.  Also, realistically, unless you are super humanly quick, how will a person in leather compare in defense to somebody in full plate?

It's no more pricey than the other armors after level 1.  And mobility is almost a non-factor.  If you don't play with a map, the difference between 25' speed and 30' speed is totally irrelevant.  If you do use a battle map (I don't), it still will only rarely make any difference.  Disadvantage on Stealth is something, I suppose, but hardly a huge deal--and personally, I'd be fine with Heavy Armor not carrying those penalties.

AlmightyK: still not getting you.  Are you trying to suggest light armor should have the highest max AC?

Personally, I think it should, yes.  Light Armored people invested in an attribute--those are finite points with a high value.  The Heavy Armor guy basically just threw on some gear.  Why should gear > attributes?

Storyteller: actually, across levels your AC is generally as good or better with light armor than heavy (heavy might pull ahead briefly when you get chain, depending on when that is and how high your DEX is).

That's not true.  Heavy Armor is ahead from level 1 (which is when you can get Chainmail).  Light Armor only equals Heavy Armor if you have a 20 Dex, which will be extremely rare.  And the highest AC achievable in Next is gained by being a Mountain Dwarf in Heavy Armor.  I am the "you can't hit me" guy, usually, and I hate both dwarves and the aesthetics of heavy armor, so this is distressing to me.

 
Yes you can't have a DEX of 20 until 8th level, but you probably can't have full plate until then either.

You don't need it.  If you have 20 Dex and wear leather, my Chainmail's AC equals yours.  If you upgrade to Displacer Beast Hide, then I should get to upgrade to Banded, and you still, at best, equal me.  And while you've spent all your stat points on Dex, I was able to do other things with my stats.  

And Medium armor only makes DEX crap if you don't care about DEX saves and DEX skills, which are at least as numerous as saves and skills for any of the other stats.  At worst, it's making DEX a little more on par with stats like INT WIS CHA.  

Yes, it is making Dex on par with Int and Cha, the worst two stats in the game.  Wisdom is used for more saves (and more important, CC-type saves) as well as the best skill (Perception), so I would not lump them together.

Medium armor needs to be removed.

+1

 Yes you can't have a DEX of 20 until 8th level, but you probably can't have full plate until then either. 

Why can't you start at a 20 dex? Roll 4d6 and get 18. Take a race with +1 dex (like human or elf) then take a class that has +1 dex (like rogue). 18+1+1=20 in my book...

Well, personally I think that heavy armor+shield should offer the best AC, by about +1. Not getting hit is great, but you're up against superhuman oppenents too... they will also be very quick, and they'll hit you sometimes.

I also strongly think that there needs to be some justification in the game mechanics for building something other than a dex-based finesse fighter. In that vein, where does it say that a throwing axe uses Strength?

As to disadvantage on stealth and slower movement: 1) I've played a lot of D&D, and have almost never found myself wishing my move speed was 30' instead of 25' (or been glad that it was).  It just doesn't come up that often IME.  2) you were going to be pretty bad at stealth anyway.  3) you get compensated by the fact that you don't have to build DEX.  This is why I suggested dragon scale have a max dex of 3, instead of a base of 16: you have to invest something into dex to get an AC equal to the heavy armor guy. 


1) I've seen speed matter a lot. Maybe it will matter less if you aren't playing on a grid, but I'm not convinced.
2) A +0 stealth modifier is a lot better than +0 with disadvantage. Remember, skills don't automatically scale now, so a non-specialist still has a reasonable chance to succeed at things, in general.
3) DEX is and is likely to remain one of the most common saves.
4) Initiative matters!

I really doubt that anyone is going to use Dex for a dump stat if they can possibly avoid it.
Yeah, I really dislike the new armor system.  I hate that the de facto best AC comes from Heavy Armor.  And Medium Armor makes Dexterity a crap stat--you only ever need 14 Dex to have the best AC without a Stealth/Speed penalty (at least until you get into the realm of 20 Dex, which, so far, can't happen until level 8 at least.

"Only" 14 dexterity is still a big investment except under extraordinarily generous rolling and point-buy systems. Characters that aren't using a stat as fuel for an important class feature rarely have more than 14 in that stat every anyway (in any edition). That doesn't make it a crap stat in any way whatsoever. Additionally, 14 dexterity remains useful for any character who can't use heavy armor (likely to be, if history is any indication, most of them), and any amount of dexterity remains useful for characters who can't use medium armor. It's not remotely on the level of Charisma or Intelligence; characters without class-specific features have basically no reason to care about those scores at all, while any character without a particular class feature (heavy armor) will want a score high enough that for most characters will be their second or third highest.

Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
 I want every stat to be important for every class.  Charisma and Intelligence are weak and the new armor system makes Dex weak, too.



Dex is still useful to a lot of skills and saves: stealth, acrobatics (tumbling/escape artist, if you prefer), thievery (sleight of hand/lock pick), and probably the plurality of spells with saves, if not the most annoying ones to be hit by.  Also remember that while one guy can find traps and liars for the whole party, one guy can't always stealth/balance/tumble/escape for his buddies so they guy who isn't the dedicated WIS man gets a bit more mileage out of a touch of DEX.  Also remember that bows are much better than thrown weapons: longer range, cheaper/lighter ammo, better damage than most.  I'll grant you perception is more useful if the only thing you ever do is dungeon crawl, but I would still argue that DEX is much closer to WIS in usefulness than to INT/CHA.  And if they stopped insisting that finesse weapons need STR for damage and generally suck (which they should do IMHO), it would be pretty much equal or better than STR.  It's hardly a candidate for most useless stat, anyway, so it seems the argument is misplaced.

It's no more pricey than the other armors after level 1.  And mobility is almost a non-factor.  If you don't play with a map, the difference between 25' speed and 30' speed is totally irrelevant.  If you do use a battle map (I don't), it still will only rarely make any difference.  Disadvantage on Stealth is something, I suppose, but hardly a huge deal--and personally, I'd be fine with Heavy Armor not carrying those penalties.  



Granted.  But you're acting like wearing heavy armor gives you some huge advantage over wearing light or medium.  It doesn't.  Yes, you don't have to build DEX.  But you're going to build SOMETHING, and I haven't bought your argument that DEX is a terrible choice for something to build.  Certainly, a party benefits from having a DEX based character.  Given this fact, that DEX based character is sacrificing nothing by wearing light armor.  It is also not a bad idea to have a 14 DEX to avoid fireballs and lightning bolts and grease and falling off of narrow surfaces.  By 5,000gp armor time, a 16 DEX isn't a half bad idea either, especially if you've got a dedicated trap finder in the party.  OK, I had assumed you couldn't afford Chain until a slightly higher level, and I would be all for them making it 200gp, but all in all I don't think we're going to see everyone piling into heavy armor as the only viable option for non wizards.

AlmightyK: still not getting you.  Are you trying to suggest light armor should have the highest max AC?Personally, I think it should, yes.  Light Armored people invested in an attribute--those are finite points with a high value.  The Heavy Armor guy basically just threw on some gear.  Why should gear > attributes?



See my above argument for why building DEX is not such a cost.  Again.  

That's not true.  Heavy Armor is ahead from level 1 (which is when you can get Chainmail).  Light Armor only equals Heavy Armor if you have a 20 Dex, which will be extremely rare.  And the highest AC achievable in Next is gained by being a Mountain Dwarf in Heavy Armor.  I am the "you can't hit me" guy, usually, and I hate both dwarves and the aesthetics of heavy armor, so this is distressing to me.



First, fully agree Chainmail should not be available at level 1 - more like level 4, and probably should be AC 15.  I hadn't noticed the starting gold figures and assumed players had less than that, because why else would they even include ringmail (I know, I know, to trap poor souls who believe in things like "roleplaying" and "character development" that demand them buying things beyond simply armor/weapon/adventurer's kit).  Also, I started this post to fix medium armor - not to suggest that heavy armor was perfect.  However, I'm not so sure it's fair to argue that you can't play the "you can't hit me" guy unless you're a mountain dwarf in heavy armor.  First, there will probably be a theme/race in the full game that gives a similar bonus in light/medium armors; second, the mountain dwarf is giving up other things for that bonus.  I still don't believe that the light-armor wearer is giving up anything to beat the medium-armor wearer.  That's what I'm complaining about.  In fact, I think the medium armor wearer is giving something up in having to build two stats to the light armor's one.  So we shouldn't be penalizing his AC on top of that.

 
You don't need it.  If you have 20 Dex and wear leather, my Chainmail's AC equals yours.  If you upgrade to Displacer Beast Hide, then I should get to upgrade to Banded, and you still, at best, equal me.  And while you've spent all your stat points on Dex, I was able to do other things with my stats.  



Again, I don't disagree that chain should not be available at first level.  If it isn't, then there is a brief gap when an 18 DEX and leathers beats ringmail.  Once you've hit 20 DEX and the masterwork armors, light and heavy are in lock step.  I think equality is a good thing.  I do not believe playing a DEX based character is a sacrifice that you should be rewarded for.  I'm all in favor of correcting chainmail, but I'm not going to argue that banded/plate should be reduced or light armor improved.

@elecgraystone:
First of all, how does the existance of medium armor make the game less fun for you to play?  If you don't like it, don't wear it.  As to a starting 20 DEX, you're right it's possible if you roll attributes.  But it's a 1/36 chance (1/216 if you're rolling in order; somewhat higher if you're a human), and I hate rolling attributes anyway.  I'm not going to suggest we rewrite the math of the game to account for this possibility.  


In sum: what the AC tables SHOULD look like:
Leather: 11+DEX
Displacer hide: 12+DEX, available at level 8
Mithral Chain: 13+DEX, available at level 12
Studded Leather: 12+DEX up to 2
Chain Shirt: 13+DEX up to 2, available at level 4
Scale Mail: 14+DEX up to 3, available at level 8
Dragonscale: 15+DEX up to 3, available at 12
Ringmail: 14
Chainmail: 15, available at 4
Banded/Splint: 17, available at 8
Plate: 18, available at 16.

With high stats you can occassionally beat the curve in lighter armors, but mostly things move together.  AC 14 at 1, 15 at 4, 17 at 8,  18 at 12.  
Well, personally I think that heavy armor+shield should offer the best AC, by about +1.

And I think wearing heavy armor should be the consolation prize--you didn't spend stat points on the AC stat, so here's your second place prize for which you need zero stat investment.

I also strongly think that there needs to be some justification in the game mechanics for building something other than a dex-based finesse fighter. In that vein, where does it say that a throwing axe uses Strength?

The Basic, Martial, and Heavy weapon charts clearly designate the attack roll as being tied to Strength.  The simple missile weapon, martial missile weapon, and heavy missile weapon charts clearly designate the attack roll as being tied to Dexterity.  The Finesse weapon chart allows either stat.  Handaxes, Throwing Axes, and Daggers can all be used at range (and the throwing axe has quite the respectable range at that), but are on charts that require (or allow, for the dagger) Strength to be used for their attack rolls.

If you compare the best Dex-based Ranged weapon (a Longbow that deals 1d8) with the best Strength based (a Throwing Axe that deals 1d6), Dexterity has a +1 average damage advantage.  When you compare the best strength-based melee weapon, however (several two-handers that deal 1d12) against the best dex-based melee weapon (a pair of two-handers that deal 1d8), Strength has a +2 average damage advantage.  So, even assuming melee and ranged attacks will occur with equal frequency (they absolutely will not, but we'll pretend), Strength still has the advantage.

And I really don't think range is that big a deal--fights rarely take place in large enough space for the extra 100' of range or so to make a difference.  The bows are especially overkill in the presented playtests, as both take place entirely in tight caverns.

"Only" 14 dexterity is still a big investment except under extraordinarily generous rolling and point-buy systems.

I disagree.  Using the array, a human, halfling, wood elf, fighter, rogue, or warlock can put their third highest stat in Dex and still get a 14 out of it.  Meanwhile, only a human fighter, rogue, or warlock are even able to start with an 18 Dex.  

Additionally, 14 dexterity remains useful for any character who can't use heavy armor (likely to be, if history is any indication, most of them), and any amount of dexterity remains useful for characters who can't use medium armor.

Correct, however, none of those classes except the Rogue can afford to put Dex beyond 14 with the array presented.  The Wizard and Warlock need Int and Con more, and even the Rogue can go Mountain Dwarf and be Strength based--they'll even have more AC to start that way than if they went Human and got the 18 Dex (and a 14 Dex wouldn't even cost them on skills, because Rogues would still have the +6 mod minimum).

It's not remotely on the level of Charisma or Intelligence; characters without class-specific features have basically no reason to care about those scores at all, while any character without a particular class feature (heavy armor) will want a score high enough that for most characters will be their second or third highest.

Currently, 50% of the classes in the game can wear heavy armor.  Two of the three classes that don't get heavy armor cannot afford to put Dex primary.  Only the Rogue really benefits from a high dexterity--which really bugs me because the finesse fighter I'd like to play is strictly inferior to the Strength/heavy armor fighter, and inefficient next to the Strength/medium armor with 14 Dex Fighter. 

 Dex is still useful to a lot of skills and saves: stealth, acrobatics (tumbling/escape artist, if you prefer), thievery (sleight of hand/lock pick), and probably the plurality of spells with saves, if not the most annoying ones to be hit by.

Most of those skills are of the sort that only one person in the party needs them.  Only stealth and acrobatics are useful for everyone, and acrobatics is never really needed--even in 4e, Athletics did mostly the same thing except with Strength.  Besides, even a maxed out Dex score (20), means very little compared to the outcome of the die roll.  I would feel very comfortable rolling for those things with just a 14 Dex.  

 Also remember that while one guy can find traps and liars for the whole party, one guy can't always stealth/balance/tumble/escape for his buddies so they guy who isn't the dedicated WIS man gets a bit more mileage out of a touch of DEX.

Perception is critical for every character, not just one.  And while you can't Stealth for someone else, one guy can stealth ahead and scout on his own.

Also remember that bows are much better than thrown weapons: longer range, cheaper/lighter ammo, better damage than most.

Only +1 damage, and the range rarely matters, as I explained above.  It does have cheaper/lighter ammo, but we're not talking about a Ranged focused character are we?  Obviously a range-focused character will use Dex over Strength.  We're talking about a hybrid range/melee guy or a primary melee character that occasionally needs ranged attacks, right?  For that guy, Dex is a weaker stat.  Period.

I'll grant you perception is more useful if the only thing you ever do is dungeon crawl

Wisdom is also used for Insight, so it's better than Dex in social games, too (as is Charisma).  I'm actually having trouble picturing the game for which Dex is the best stat--maybe a sneaky, guild of thieves sort of game?  I don't know.  

 Granted.  But you're acting like wearing heavy armor gives you some huge advantage over wearing light or medium.

Because it does--you don't need any Dex and you get a higher AC.  That's a huge deal.

But you're going to build SOMETHING, and I haven't bought your argument that DEX is a terrible choice for something to build.

It's not a terrible choice, but not needing Dex allows you options you don't have if you need it to be as high as possible.  You can afford more Con, Wis, or even go for some flavor and have a higher Int/Cha.

Certainly, a party benefits from having a DEX based character.  Given this fact, that DEX based character is sacrificing nothing by wearing light armor.

A dex based character with at least 18 Dex sacrifices nothing by wearing Light armor over Medium Armor.  With less than 18 (and currently, only human rogues or fighters can do so with the array), Medium armor is always better.  And even with an 18 Dex, Heavy Armor is always better--it's only equal if you have 20 Dex.

but all in all I don't think we're going to see everyone piling into heavy armor as the only viable option for non wizards.

There's a step between being the only viable option and being the objectively best option.

However, I'm not so sure it's fair to argue that you can't play the "you can't hit me" guy unless you're a mountain dwarf in heavy armor.

At the moment, that's the best AC--if I want to be the best at avoiding hits, that's what I need to do.  I won't do it, because I hate the idea of that charcter aesthetically, but I will be sad in the back of my mind, knowing that I could have a better AC than I have.

First, there will probably be a theme/race in the full game that gives a similar bonus in light/medium armors;

I sure hope so, though it'd be nice if it didn't cost a specialty.

 
I still don't believe that the light-armor wearer is giving up anything to beat the medium-armor wearer.

The light armor wearer is giving up the opportunity to care about any stat other than Dex.  The medium armor wearer can put their second or third best stat into Dex, rather than putting their best stat there.

Yes, if you want to focus on ranged attacks, you want Dex to be highest.  If you want to be a melee fighter, Strength weapons are significantly better than Finesse weapons.

If I had to compromise (i.e. allow heavy armor to equal light, rather than letting light beat it with enough Dex) this is how I'd like the armor chart to look:

Light ArmorA: 11+Dex (level 1)
Light ArmorB: 12+Dex (level 8)
Light ArmorC: 13+Dex (level 16)
Heavy Armor 1: 14 (level 1)
Heavy Armor 2: 15 (level 4)
Heavy Armor 3: 16 (level 8)
Heavy Armor 4: 17 (level 12)
Heavy Armor 5: 18 (level 16)

Medium armor would not exist, because it's stupid and unnecessary, and Heavy armor would carry no penalties (no reduced speed or disadvantage on stealth or anything).
Wow, all that does it encourage people to max their DEX even more. For the first seven levels if I put RP and character versatility aside, I can have a character that stands toe-to-toe with the BBEG better than the tank. If you want a DEX based evasion tank, keep it off the Armor table and create a defender/harassment build with a specialty/feat similar to the Mountain Dwarf allowing for bonuses in Lighter armor. and leave Medium armor alone. I WANT it there. I don't want to run around with nothing but the skin of animals on my back, but I also don't want to look like a giant can put me in his cupboard with the expectation that I'll stay fresh... And it's best that armor stay relatively level, cuz then it doesn't matter which proficiencies you have. and if you really want to go the juggernaut route then pick up a shield. keep it simple, keep it welcoming. let your character idea choose your armor.
This is a nasty problem that plagues dnd, heavy armor and shields rarely manage to compensate for their encoumbrance while light armor and no armor characters can usually dig up tons of feats, abilities, and magic items to boost their AC's well over that of the heavy armor types.

I think maybe heavy armos and shields should focus on Damage reduction and similar extras instead. 
I wonder if it would be terribly impactful to the joy of critting if heavy armors required attackers to confirm crits?

Danny

Dex based bonuses to armor need to be removed. Instead have your strength determine how much you can wear and carry. 

Stronger characters have the better armor, weaker characters should find something else, either ranged weapons, concealment, a trick, being quick and fast, etc.....