I've been reading with dismay the official warcraft tanking forums recently, and the posts concerning tank balance. Reading the posts, the general mediocrity is such that it's difficult to know what to take seriously as the good posters tend to get lost in the noise.
What to take from it?
There seems to be a general consensus that warriors are the weakest tank at the moment. I don't know about that. I've tanked all of Coliseum 10 man, and am currently tanking Ulduar hard modes in 10s. I have 1 emblem of triumph item. The rest of my gear is 10 man gear or from emblems of conquest. I am probably therefore at the "right" level of gear for the content I am doing. Do I feel squishy? I very rarely just get nuked down - I occasionally die because I stuff up by making myself susceptible to more damage (offtanking Anub adds recently, missing an interrupt on jarraxus etc), but pretty rarely due to boss hits. Perhaps this will change on Beasts hard mode, or perhaps the differences are only apparent in 25 player mode.
Perhaps if I was a paladin I would die more rarely. I don't know really - we have a pally who shares the tanking role with me. He has worse gear (and consequently lower health) but doesn't seem to be the tank that "literally cannot die" you hear so much about on the wow forums. Incidentally, I think that many people do not understand what the word "literally" means. I also don't see the massive differences in health that I am supposed to see according to the official forums.
I personally prefer the utility of last stand to ardent defender (although vampiric blood is better than both!), since last stand lasts for 10 seconds, whereas AD is for 1 hit only. With intensive healing therefore you can survive several large hits in a row where a paladin would die on the second hit. I am in a minority here it seems however.
One comment I really did agree with on the official forums concerned the warrior's "toolkit" - the wide variety of our abilities and the way that it's possible to tell an average warrior tank from a great warrior tank by the way that all the abilities are used. This is spot on, in my view. We have mobility (charge/intervene/intercept), four stuns, all the relevant boss debuffs (attack speed and AP), spell reflect, a ranged silence, a reliable interrupt, a strong self heal over time, the ability to block (if you think block is rubbish go talk to a DK), a fear break, two good cooldowns, one weak cooldown (shield block), an AoE taunt, retaliation (criminally underused), vigilance (underrated), plus buffs for our melee dpsers that other tanks do not have (sunder and shattering throw).
Warriors are the most versatile of all the tanks and have interesting, fun and powerful abilities. It's a shame if we take more damage than the other tanks - I don't see it but then my game experience has not been affected by it so far. There are no doubt many people who would swap all of the warrior's abilities for another 5k health. I would not.
Still, I wouldn't say *no* to some more EH in 3.2 mind...
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