As a healer, I feel like I get a decent view on tank performance. And by now I've had a chance to heal for all three primary tanking classes: Warrior, Paladin, and Druid. From my point of view, both a Paladin and a Druid make excellent tanks when specced for it; in fact, in BC I'd say they tank better than a Warrior. Post-patch, if I had to pick a ranking, I'd say Pally > Druid > Warrior (Druid would've been on top pre-patch), but that really depends on player, gear, and environment. I asked a few guildies (a shadow Priest, experienced in pulling aggro, and a player who's tanked as both a Pally and a Warrior both made themselves available for extended comment; one more each of Druid, Pallie, and Warrior gave quick shout-ins), and here's what emerged (combined with my own observations):
- All three classes are good tanks.
- Pallies and Druids need to try harder to gear for it, whereas Warrior gear tends to be made for tanking more often.
- Pallies and Warriors can tend to be a bit short in the HP and armor department as compared to Druids. However, Warriors have tons of skills related to tanking, as well as parry and block; Pallies also have parry and block, and are pretty hard to get aggro off of.
- Druids and Warriors can't be shielded as much, since it interferes with rage generation.
- Pallies get mana when you heal them.
- Overall, there seems to have been a large shift in BC away from Warrior tanking and towards Paladin and Druid tanking. This has been offset somewhat with 2.0.10, but not by any means completely.
- There's a certain perception that Warriors have the potential to be the best tanks, but it takes more skill to do it.
The devs actually mentioned today that Paladin tanking wasn't exactly where they wanted it to be and there would be attention paid towards that end of things. Overall, they do expect Paladins, Druids and Warriors to fill tanking roles in end-game, whatever they may be. While there may be a flavor distinction between tanks, we don't want to (or want the players to) find some rigid hierarchy by which classes are measured in their tanking potential to the third decimal point.
In my opinion, this is great news. I can't imagine a better perspective. What do you guys think, both on the current differences between tanks, and about the devs' stance as exemplified in this quote?