I’m in a bit of a dilemma, with 4.2 right around the damn corner. I enjoy DK tanking, and I enjoy Druid tanking. They both have benefits, and they both have drawbacks. I’ve pretty much done everything, even write a damn list of pros and cons, over the two tanks (they’re equally geared too, BTW) trying to come to a decision. Here’s what i’ve come up with.
DK Pros – Self healing is amazing. Best tanking cooldowns, period. Much better snap threat. Base-line expertise (probably contributes to the higher threat gen). Lower variety of stats that are *absolute garbage* on tanking gear. Great AOE threat, even without an AOE taunt. C’mon, face it… Death grip is *awesome*. “Defender of the Shattered World” title on this toon. Army of the Dead is *amazing* dps cooldown.
DK Cons – Much more unforgiving rotation. Making blood shield work to it’s highest potential is *very* difficult. 2pt12 bonus is crap. Runes are on cooldown at the worst times. Runic empowerment is far too RNG for my tastes. DK’s take more damage than any other tank, and have to perform much better to be equal with other tanks (by Blizz’s own admission).
Druid Pros – Much higher armor. Much higher avoidance. More DPS output. An interrupt that’s also a gap-closer, if you need it. Another gap closer in feral charge. A ranged pull that generates respectable threat (FFF). 2pt12 bonus is relatively solid. T12 gear, in general, is much better itemized for us than T11 was (and by “us” I mean bears, not just ferals). AOE Taunt. Much easier/forgiving rotation. Berserk is *amazing* for aoe-threat, as well as a DPS cooldown. Flamking kitten staff 😀
Druid Cons – Sometimes I still find myself rage starved. Snap threat is lower (probably because of a lack of hit/expertise on my current gear). Lack of real magic damage reduction. Tanking trinkets are…. strange… for druids. Much more chance of “acceptable” gear, with strange itemization for bears (wtf haste). Much lower amount of threat stats (hit/exp… although Firelands looks to be fixing that some). AOE threat is still… questionable. Savage Defense could be better. Still have issues with rage at times, (mainly cause of low hit/exp). Everytime I have a Mangle miss/dodge/parry it makes me cry a little inside, ESPECIALLY when I’m using Berserk.
So there it is… There may or may not be an equal number of points between pros and cons, but they weigh in at about the same to me, so it’s really hard for me to decide. Also, I don’t wanna be one of those guys who keeps changing mains around, because it’s not fair to my raiders to do so. Whichever toon I stick with, i’ll probably end up sticking with till the end of the expansion. Honestly, I could see myself raiding with either one until the end of Cata, and doing so pretty successfully. My healing team has told me they’ve noticed little difference between actually healing either toon, but i’ll be perfectly honest… I’m not liking with what is going on with DKs at the moment. I really enjoyed the class (and actually, I still do), but the farther I get progressed, and the more I play the toon, the more I actually FEEL the issues with her.
I’ll give a for-instance… We put some attempts on Heroic Halfus for the first time this week. 2 DK tanks and a Pally tank. We only worked for maybe an hour, because we’re definitely NOT a hardcore guild, but I was the tank that lead off on Halfus, and I just felt like i was getting absolutely crushed. One of the healers was telling me that he was going OOM by the time the 3rd tank just picked up Halfus for the first time. Now admittedly, there were a lot of other issues going on, but it just seemed like, I literally COULD NOT Death Strike enough to offset the “Extra damage” that DKs take… Yeah, that’s another issue I have. There shouldn’t be a tanking class that takes noticably more damage than others, even if it’s more offset by rotational self-healing, because that rotational self-healing is SO EASY TO FUCK UP. Death strike’s healing is tied to the amount of damage you’ve taken a couple seconds prior. Well guess what, heroic bosses hit like a fucking mack truck, so if you’ve used 2 death strikes on big spikes, and all your runes are on CD, then there’s another big spike JUST AROUND THE CORNER that you can’t heal up through. And guess what else… Blood shield is wiped away with one hit. You almost have no chance of getting it to stack up a big number, because of all the damn hits your taking. Oh yeah! Fun times! /grump.
Not that Savage Defense is a perfect mastery, but it *is* better off than Blood Shield. Smaller absorbs, more often, proccing regularly enough to make a difference, but y’know what? Druids also have a MUCH lower damage intake. For comparison… My DK, in full 359 gear, and blood presence, unbuffed, is sitting just shy of 30k armor. My bear? Also in full 359 gear, in bear form, unbuffed, is sitting at 44k armor. On top of that, the druid is sitting at around 37% dodge, whereas the DK has about 30% dodge/parry and a metric TON of more mastery. Also? 4% of max health every 6 seconds via Leader of the Pack? It’s still a DAMN respectable amount of self healing, even if it doesn’t equal up to what a blood DK will do. My point is this… DKs are in a worse position right now than Druids, but damn if I don’t really enjoy playing both classes. I forsee yet another big overhaul of DKs coming before the end of this expansion. Their current model just won’t hold out as it is, for 3 more tiers of content, in my opinion. And if it DOES manage till the end of Cata, i would place money on the fact that they’ll be reworked before the next expac.