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One tank to rule them all? Devs say no.

Eliah Hecht

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.
All fairly basic stuff, but it's interesting to see it all next to each other like that. My Paladin guildy Taedan summed it up: "Paladins are able to hold aggro better, whereas Druids can last a lot longer, and Warriors tend to be in the middle." I would also add that Warriors have more "oh !@#$" skills to use when things go wrong, kind of like Priests in the healing area. The one Warrior I asked (couldn't get ahold of most of my guild's warriors) thinks that post-patch, Warriors have the edge, with more staying power and now, with defensive Thunderclap, easy multi-mob tanking. Given all this perspective, the following quote from Tseric is interesting:

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?

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